Webb: Pot legalization 'on the table' in prison reform effort

The leader of a congressional effort to reform the criminal justice system said Thursday that all issues -- including drug legalization -- need to be on the table.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who has made criminal justice and prison reform a signature issue of his this year in Congress, is the most high-profile lawmaker to indicate openness to drug decriminalization or outright legalization.

"Well, I think what we need to do is to put all of the issues on the table," Webb said this morning on CNN if asked if marijuana legalization would be part of his criminal justice reform efforts.

"If you go back to 1980 as a starting point, I think we had 40,000 people in prison on drug charges, and today, we have about 500,000 of them," the first-term Virginia lawmaker said. "And the great majority of those are nonviolent crimes -- possession crimes or minor sales."

Webb joins several other lawmakers who have called for the exploration of legalized pot, amidst a drug war in Mexico fueled by revenues from American drug sales.

"I think they should examine every aspect of drugs policy to see what's working and what's not working, and where the consistencies are and, quite frankly, where the inconsistencies are in terms of how people end up in the system with similar activities," Webb explained, reiterating his call for a high-level blue ribbon commission to reform the criminal justice system.

"Nothing should be off the table," he said.