Grading the Democratic Presidential Candidates on Marijuana: Cory Booker

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Every Saturday, we have been operating a series of weblog posts that take a close appear at every of the Democratic Celebration candidates for President in 2020. We examine every candidate’s historic strategy to marijuana law and policy, and we also canvas their present respective stances on marijuana.

More than the previous 5 weeks, we covered Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. These days, we turn to Corey Booker, Senator from New Jersey.

Grade: A+

Stance on marijuanaCory Booker has a extended and storied pro-cannabis history and he has produced legalization an significant aspect of his criminal justice reform platform. He is an advocate for legalization, each by means of his legislative action in the Senate and his words on social media. As stated on his website, he plans to “decriminalize marijuana, expunge records, and restore justice to folks and communities that have been devastated by the War on Drugs.” It is unclear regardless of whether his use of “decriminalization” rather than “legalization” in this statement is meaningful since his rhetoric and his legislative history otherwise demonstrate that he strongly favors legalizing marijuana.

History: In 2014, Booker kicked off his profession in the Senate with an issue statement on criminal justice reform that advocated for decriminalizing marijuana. In 2015, Booker co-sponsored the CARERS Act which would reschedule marijuana and safeguard states who have legalized.

Booker has introduced and sponsored various bills aimed at criminal justice reform. In 2018, Booker pushed for the inclusion of sentencing reform in the bi-partisan First Step Act, which was later signed into law. This incorporated decreasing the minimum sentences for particular non-violent drug crimes. This previous March, Booker followed up the Initially Step Act with the Next Step Act. If passed, this new bill would decrease minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes, eradicate the disparity in between the penalties for crack and cocaine, and decriminalize marijuana (and expunge criminal records of marijuana associated charges).

Back in 2017, Booker particularly addressed the legalization of marijuana by introducing the Marijuana Justice Act to the Senate in 2017. If passed, the bill would not only decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, it would also expunge records of previous marijuana-associated convictions. In an interview this previous May possibly, Booker explained that the bill had each “carrots and sticks” to encourage states to address inequities in the enforcement of marijuana laws. Most notably, the bill would punish states that do not legalize marijuana and that are determined to disproportionately arrest particular populations (particularly minorities and low-revenue men and women) for marijuana charges.

When the Marijuana Justice Act was initial introduced in August of 2017, Booker was its sole sponsor. The bill is now co-sponsored by 5 other presidential candidates. Booker’s bill largely reflected the American public’s increasing support for the legalization of marijuana, but he deserves credit for shaping the marijuana platforms of his fellow candidates.

Conclusion: Booker receives an “A+” grade. From the starting of his profession in the Senate, Booker has committed substantial work towards legislation focused on criminal justice reform, which includes the legalization of marijuana. He is not only an outspoken advocate of legalization but he has taken the lead on legislation to reform marijuana laws. When it comes to cannabis, there is no improved presidential candidate than Cory Booker.



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