Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Medical Marijuana? Heck Yes..But I Want To Go Beyond That

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director December 18, 2012

    During an interview with HuffPo Live yesterday, Newark Mayor and potential gubernatorial candidate Cory Booker made some very strong statements in favor of drug law reform. When asked about medical marijuana, a program that was approved in his state, but has been slow in implementation, Mayor Booker spoke strongly in favor of allowing patients access to cannabis, but thought we could do even more:

    Medical marijuana, heck yes. I do not understand that there are drugs that are more toxic, more dangerous and more challenging, in drugs stores around my state, yet we single out this one drug and we say you can’t even have it in a medical fashion, at a time when I see prescription drugs from Adderall to you name it being used widely across our nation…

    The reason I said I want to go beyond that…is because of the drug war.

    We have seen so much of our national treasure being spent in the national drug war and in my opinion have turned human life into incarceration, trapping into poverty…

    What I’ve seen in Newark is a massive trap in this drug war, and its not just a trap for the individuals being arrested, it’s a trap for taxpayers, communities and towns. We’re not making our nation safer with this assault on this drug war, we are not making our state less addicted to substances. We need to change, radically change, the conversation and begin to talk about drugs, especially drugs like pot, in a different way.

    This is a conversation that no matter what I do, Mayor, Governor, Senator, I want to be one of the people, hopefully, trying to lead the national conversation away from this insanity that we have now.

    View the full interview here.

    Mayor Booker isn’t the only prominent Democrat with higher political aspirations embracing the idea of marijuana law reform. This year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo came out strongly in favor of fully decriminalizing marijuana possession in his state and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin voiced his desire to be a national leader pushing to change our country’s draconic marijuana policies. Even former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have recently criticized the War on Drugs as a failed effort, with President Carter going as far as endorsing full legalization.

    So, President Obama, do you want to be on the right or wrong side of history? Your party, and the nation, are moving towards regulated marijuana whether you aid in its implementation or not. It is becoming more and more obvious that the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, and possibly even the Republican, will not only be critical of the war on drugs, but will likely support progressive reforms such as decriminalization or legalization. There are still four years left in your second term, Mr. President, don’t let them pass you by and have to look back and think what you could’ve done.

    36 responses to “Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Medical Marijuana? Heck Yes..But I Want To Go Beyond That”

    1. brandon says:

      it is time to legalize pot we are a nation that is locked up not in jail but in our homes do to the fact that we have been taxed to death the cost of living alone takes every thing i have and when i do have money somthing comes up to take that to i work raise kids sleep and do it all over again with no end in sight and one joint a night is not that much to ask for I NEED A SILVER LINEING IN MY SKY AGAIN

    2. Jeff says:

      Why has it taken over seventy years and trillions of dollars down the drain before we could come to this obvious conclusion? Because people believed Harry Anslinger’s yellow journalism lies about cannabis causing violence, insanity and death. A majority of senior citizens still believe those lies even today. Then that moron Nixon chose to ignore his Shaffer commission’s recommendation that he legalize cannabis, because the people who used cannabis were the anti-war left wingers who wouldn’t vote for him, and he wanted to punish them. Cannabis prohibition has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with politics.

    3. phrtao says:

      Once the young, ambitious career politicians such as Mayor Cory Booker take the kind of language NORML has been using ( and until just a few months ago you heard nowhere else) and make political gains from it you know legalisation has won. There is a school of thought that for new ideas to flourish the people who believed the old ways must pass away (or retire !).

    4. phrtao says:

      Just one casual thought – It is not only the old prohibitionists that must pass but also the old hippies as well. Events such as Woodstock (43 years ago) frightened the establishment and marijuana was always seen as a part of that attack on American society. Medical marijuana and the more business-like attitude of many of the young activists has done a great deal to clean up the image of marijuana and this as much as anything is what has changed attitudes. Turn on, tune in and be a responsible member of society but make it the society you want.
      (Apologies to the late Timothy Leary 😎 “SMILE” will have to wait – small steps first )

    5. Galileo Galilei says:

      A mainstream politician calls the drug war ‘insanity’. WOW! The times they are indeed achanging.


      I’ve read that Uncle Tim was upset that the ‘drop out’ part of his slogan became interpreted to mean everybody should just stay high and goof off all the time. ‘Drop out’ originally meant finding a lifestyle that didn’t support the ‘Establishment’ and live it, in other words as you noted, ‘Turn on, tune in and be a responsible member of society but make it the society you want.’

    6. Skitskats says:

      And legalization is also a positive step for education so we can have an honest and candid conversion about what’s real and isn’t as far as cannabis is concerned Instead of some phony nonsense used as a political tool in 1970 So cannabis reform isn’t really that progressive The controlled substance is totally out-dated because our entire society has changed drastically since 1970 and the drug-scape has changed also Figure that fake nonsense was released even before Crack The controlled substance act of 1970 classifies cannabis as a narcotic Everyone knows that ain’t true Why does our government still operate under such an out-dated policy literally riddled with lies that costs thousands of Americans thier civil-liberties every year

    7. RUT says:

      The war on drugs like all wars will end. The soldiers in this war need to be sent home or at least most of them. The federal government,state and local police organizations have built a big machine and are not about to give it up with out a fight. to think that for generations they have been imprisoning people for smoking a plant that they know has been classified wrongly as a class 1 substance. the sad thing is they know it is not a demon as portrayed in the yellow journalism of the 1930’s, but they just enjoy locking up citizens. They needed marijuana in the group of bad drugs because it is where they get the arrest numbers that they need to justify their existence. you can not get the arrest numbers they need by just going after coke and heroin. to think our government wants to keep lying and putting our young people in jail. Our politicians are criminal if they do not correct this wrong.OLD HIPPIES VOTE!

    8. JIM says:


    9. brandon says:

      the old government will never change but there is a way around all of that. The states are the ones who chose to follow the laws. so in affect can choose to change. So are focus is in the wrong direction remember WE MADE THEM THEY DIDNT MAKE US WE MADE THEM

    10. claygooding says:

      Any state with mmj laws in place,especially states where the laws are being attacked by the prohibitionist parasites,should quit investing time and resources trying to jump through hoops for bottom dwelling scum sucking prohibs.

      Legalize until the federal government has to remove marijuana from schedule 1 and most of thise “hoops” disappear.