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Cory Booker Would ‘Absolutely’ Consider Mass Marijuana Pardons If Elected President

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Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said on Wednesday night that he would consider issuing mass pardons and commutations for marijuana offenses if elected to the White House.

“Absolutely,” he said in response to a question during a CNN town hall about whether he would consider taking executive action to clear people punished under federal cannabis laws.

“The war on drugs has been a war on people,” Booker said. “As president of the United States, your job is to pursue justice. And what we see right now is so many folks suffering.”

“If I am your president I am going to fight to make sure that we have sane drug laws and that we expunge the records of those people who are going through convictions and the aftermath for things like marijuana,” he said.

The senator spoke about racial disparities in cannabis enforcement and said that discussions about ending prohibition have to include ways to rectify the damage that’s already been done.

“We fundamentally have laws in this country that have treated people differently,” he said. “I’m hoping all of us when we talk about marijuana legalization or marijuana decriminalization, in the same breath we’ve got to talk about expunging the records of everyone who is still suffering.”

“Right now we have a lot of injustice in our criminal justice system.”

Booker has made cannabis and drug policy reform a centerpiece of his presidential bid during a campaign in which every other major Democratic contender now supports marijuana legalization.

In the Senate, he is the chief sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act, which would deschedule cannabis and withhold certain federal funds from states that maintain racially discriminatory enforcement of prohibition.

Several of his primary opponents have cosponsored the bill.

Cory Booker Appears To Call Out Kamala Harris’s Marijuana Jokes

Photo courtesy of Senate Democrats.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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