We’re at a pot precipice in America. Twenty-nine states (and Washington, DC) have given residents access to some form of medical marijuana, eight have legalized recreational use, and a contingent of politicians, policy experts, and advocacy groups continue to fight for further decriminalization. This push has helped many people like me—I have Crohn’s disease and frequently use medical weed as a deterrent for flare-ups. But even though some Republicans have embraced the cause of legalizing weed, the current White House seems devoted to keeping the war on drugs alive.
Yet despite the current climate, and even though the conversation over marijuana legalization has been less prominent in the age of Trump, politicians like Senator Cory Booker believe full legalization is all but inevitable. “We are on the right side of history,” the New Jersey Democratic senator told me over the phone from Washington, DC, two months after introducing his Marijuana Justice Act, a bill that calls for a full federal legalization as well as the establishment of a fund to repair communities hit hardest by the drug war.
It’s an ambitious plan that, given the Republican domination of Congress and the White House, almost certainly won’t become law. But it marked Booker as perhaps the Senate’s leading anti-drug war advocate, which is important given that many observers are already assuming he is one of the top contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (When he was asked this summer about 2020, Booker said, “I don’t know what the future’s going to bring.”)
Booker recently talked about the future of weed in America, how his bill fits in, and why he’s pushing for legalization while Trump is president. [Read more at VICE]