Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke called for the end of the federal prohibition of cannabis on March 14, as one of the main highlights of his 2020 political platform. The Texan cited the disproportionate number of minorities that are imprisoned in the United States over a plant.
The United States verifiably jails people at a higher rate than any other nation, and cannabis and other drug charges are largely to blame. “We can free ourselves from the distinction of being the country that imprisons more of its citizens than any other country on the face of the planet,” O’Rourke told an audience in Iowa. “And guess what: By and large they do not look like this room. They are browner and blacker than most of America.” O’Rourke’s support for cannabis reform and drug reform in general goes back over a decade. In 2010, the congressman spoke at the a Students for Sensible Drug Policy conference.
If we want to keep drugs away from kids, profits away from criminals, & focus on opioid epidemic & start saving lives, end the war on drugs.
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 12, 2017
In 2017, O’Rourke introduced H.R.1952, the Better Drive Act, which would have blocked the federal government from withholding highway-related funds if states don’t enforce driving license suspension laws for drugged driving. He endorsed H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, and a revision was recently reintroduced. He also endorsed several other bills that protect states that legalize cannabis from the federal government. O’Rourke also supported the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, promoting research into the safety of using cannabis to deal with post-traumatic stress syndrome and chronic pain.
In 2018, O’Rourke lost in a Senate race in Texas to Ted Cruz, although the race was extremely narrow, 48 percent to 51 percent, and he challenged the state’s rock-solid Republican base.
It’s time to end the war on drugs. That starts by ending the federal prohibition on marijuana.
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 21, 2018
The congressman highlighted the importance of drug reform, and why it’s an issue that cannot wait. “Only some face arrest, faced imprisonment, and when they get out forced to check a box that says they have a conviction which diminishes their opportunities in life to hold a job, to raise a family, to get a loan, to be successful,” he said. Stay posted to see how the Democratic race pans out for frontrunners Bernie Sanders, O’Rourke and Kamala Harris, among others.