Cory Booker slams marijuana convictions ahead of 4/20

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerHuman rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer MORE (D-N.J.) went on the offensive Friday against state laws criminalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

In a video for Mic published for 4/20, an unofficial holiday for pot enthusiasts, Booker accused the U.S. of already having essentially legalized the drug for just the most privileged Americans.

"We already have marijuana legalization for privileged people in this country who smoke marijuana, use marijuana with little fear of consequence," Booker says in the video.


"There's no difference in America between blacks or whites for using or selling marijuana, but African-Americans are almost 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for that," he adds.

Booker goes on to call the current wave of pro-marijuana sentiment in America a "moral moment" with the opportunity to overturn "massive injustices" in the justice system.

"We should legalize marijuana AND help those who have suffered due to its prohibition," the senator added in an Instagram post.

Booker introduced a bill last year that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, moving it from a Schedule 1 drug, and would provide incentives for states with "disproportionate arrest rate" on minority or low-income individuals.

This week, Booker picked up a major supporter when Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy Pelosi, Schumer vow climate action: 'It is an imperative' MORE (D-N.Y.) announced he would support a bill to decriminalize the drug, becoming one of the highest-profile Democrats to support the issue.

Schumer said Thursday that he plans to introduce a bill similar to Booker's in the coming weeks, but it's unclear if it will include the same incentives for states to pass legalization.

“The legislation is long overdue based on, you know, a bunch of different facts,” Schumer said. “I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined because they had small amounts of marijuana and served time in jail much too long.” 

“If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal,” he added.