Cory Booker said he's 'absolutely disappointed' marijuana legalization wasn't discussed in first 2020 Democratic debate

Cory BookerSen. Cory Booker has been one of the most vocal advocates for marijuana legalization in the Senate.Carlo Allegri/Reuters

  • Sen. Cory Booker, who's led the charge for marijuana legalization in the Senate, was highly disappointed the issue was not discussed in the first 2020 debate on Wednesday night.
  • "I am absolutely disappointed that wasn't an issue when you see voters turning out this issue all over the country," Booker said.
  • Booker said the ongoing federal prohibition of marijuana is a "crisis" for the US because it prevents people from getting "urgently needed medication" and has resulted in the disproportionate incarceration of minorities and low-income people.
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Miami, FL - Sen. Cory Booker on Wednesday told INSIDER he's disappointed marijuana legalization was not discussed during the first 2020 debate in Miami.

"I am absolutely disappointed that wasn't an issue when you see voters turning out this issue all over the country," Booker said.

The senator from New Jersey said that "as a guy who has one of the boldest bills" on this issue - the Marijuana Justice Act - he would've appreciated the opportunity to lay out his vision to voters on the national stage.

"I would like to see the federal government end its making marijuana illegal, and pull back and let the states do what the want," Booker said. "But I am also one of those people that thinks you cannot talk about marijuana legalization if in the same sentence you're not talking about expunging the records of those Americans who have criminal convictions for doing things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing."

Booker said the ongoing federal prohibition is a "crisis" for the US not only because "incredibly we have a country where sick people can't access urgently needed medication," adding, "it's also crisis because we have the over incarceration, particularly of low-income people, particularly of African-Americans, who have been unjustly persecuted in the war on drugs."

The senator went on to say that the war on drugs is actually a "war on people - and certain people over others."

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