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

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 thoughts

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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!


  9. 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. 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.

  11. Here in Eagle Rock, California, two months ago the Federal government invaded our State and closed down cannabis clubs that the State sanctioned. I’ve come to the conclusion that they must be protecting the lucrative Black market for a reason, maybe to fund secret CIA projects or something. Who knows!

  12. @Galileo Galilei

    Timothy Leary was a much misunderstood man. I think he actually embodied the American way but as with other experimental groups such as the Merry Pranksters it was a bit too intellectual for the mainstream at that time. I often wonder what the likes of Timothy Leary, Jerry Garcia, Ken Kesey or for that matter Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby would have thought of all this.

    Do you know about the “SMILE” theory for the future of the human race
    Space Migration; Intelligence (squared); Life Extension. Cannabis is a useful step towards that.

  13. No it’s not as much political as it is about the all mighty dollar. Locking people up for minor possession of a plant is huge business in this country. Just look at the amount of money and assets the federal and local governments confiscate, then add the profit in housing all these deviant people in for-profit jails, the ever increasing budgets of these same tax payers money to enforce laws that the majority of people don’t agree with. I absolutely love the people of Colorado and Washington for being brave enough to take the first step for the rest of us. We need similar initiatives in every state or put pressure on the federal government give up this failed war and treat drugs as the public health issue it is.

  14. There was a time when politicians would have been ousted for speaking in any positive way about marijuana. Now, it becomes a stump speech. It becomes expedient to endorse a debate about pot legalization. NORML, you guys have been there in the front of this fight all along. I hope I live long enough to see the end of pot prohibition. What I would really love to see is for thousands of pot offenders to be released from jail and their records cleared of the offense.

  15. Okay, I saw the word heroin in another post, so I’ll make another comment. I’ve been smoking weed, off and on, for 48 years and I’ve never been tempted to try heroin or coke, although I could have easily obtained either. I’ve always enjoyed the high that pot produces. That’s why I choose that drug just like someone would choose a particular soft drink. Also, I’ve been fighting severe depression since I was a child. I’ve tried just about all of the pharmaceuticals and the side effects are too much for me. I can go from fingering the trigger to grabbing a tape measure, going out into my garage and creating something out of wood. 1 or 2 puffs takes me from wanting to end it to being productive. Why would anyone want to deny that kind of relief to anyone ? Why does any human have to be a criminal in order to save their own life ???

  16. More hats in the ring every day. Great fun watching the size of the hat grow as newer, more expensive hats get tossed in. Soon someone’s gonna throw a real fancy one in there and that will be that. Keep cheerin’ ’em on folks!

  17. Great comments. Get everyone OUT of the money making aspects and grow from seedz. Topical uses are so great for social change. Relaxes the body doesn’t change the mind. *J

  18. Good for you Cory Booker. You are a true leader. BTW medical marijuana is so 1990’s. It’s time to legalize it for ALL adult use. Why should people be forced to justify medical use and some silly card to procure weed, while non-medical users are forced to turn to the black market? The dispenseries in California and green prohibitionists like Dennis Peron and the De Angelo Bros are dead set against full scale legalization. No more green apartheid. Marijuana is for all who want it, or at least it should be.

  19. ok if money talks in politics lets legalize it for two years and all the profit gos to lowering the national detb and then let congress can push it off like they always do

  20. Jeff, our country is dysfunctional. Our military isn’t dysfunctional, but congress and our presidents have been; thus nullifying the good our military does with endless bad decisions.

    Every third arrest is for marijuana? Really, why aren’t police protesting at this point??? Oh yeah, ’cause they have become dysfunctional thanks to years of legal slight-of-hand, misdirection and out right lies. Every cop lies in court every time a marijuana case is handled. We can’t trust these guys about weed even while under oath, but we can trust them about everything else?

    Dysfunctional. We are going to continue to hear stories about 1,000’s of innocent people sent to jail by incompetent police for at least the next several years. We’ve been fueling this crazy war; not paying attention to the lack of progress; laying off good cops or not hiring them in the first place because they smoke pot, but retaining rejects that don’t smoke but at least “fit in”. Doing everything backward from training to socializing for years. It is a brilliant way to achieve ruin. The message has been and still is, if you like marijuana you can’t not contribute anything to us, and that’s just libel.

  21. A few years back, I was dating a crimminal justice major. They STILL teach them that marijuana is a “gateway” drug. Really? I couldn’t convince him otherwise. Don’t date him anymore.

  22. It is very refreshing, and somewhat nerve calming to hear such a reliable and respected member of the political society have such strong views on this subject.

    I was pulled over, and cited for the poss of less than a gram in Kentucky, and now of course i’m facing criminal charges and court. It’s stupid. I’m a responsible member of society who works full time stressful job. I’m a good kid, and I’ve never been in trouble with the law and yet I’m a criminal because I dabble in the recreation use of marijuana, a plant that grows naturally out of the earth, yet is illegal.

    It’s time our politicians and policemen and women get educated on exactly what they are dealing with. Criminals may smoke pot, but just because you smoke pot doesn’t make you a criminal.

  23. Couldnt agree more with this author. In my opinion, many people would be able to get off prescription drugs and alcohol with the help of marijuana. I am proof of that, I quit drinking alcohol 13 years ago with the help of marijuana. Alcohol was killing me as well as killed my father.

  24. Yes yes and yes; these are the people who are going to have the biggest influence higher up and we need more to speak out.

  25. Christie’s refusal to acknowledge marijuana should not be illegal is going to cost him heavily if he doesn’t change his tune.

    Christie is too smart not to understand this War is a scam. He needs to be a leader on this issue and explain things to the more ignorant people in the Republican Party as they will not listen to the likes of Cory Booker.

    Christie, don’t pull a Reagan; giving speeches about freedom and less bureaucracy, yet spend your whole time in office building up a government headed in the opposite direction of what you say you believes in. I heard you (Christie) say crack heads don’t belong in jail, they belong in treatment. So where is it? The end of this Bullshit War? BTW, all drug users are also distributors, so you should think about fixing that loophole too. Cory will be getting my vote if you do not stand up and be a leader. The only real “drug dealers” are those who don’t partake and are true sociopaths “earning” money off making people sick.

    People growing pot though, are normal people and everything about marijuana should be in a different category than heroin, coke, bath salts, meth, angle dust, leak, huffing, ect. Placing marijuana growers and dealers into the same category with the truly disturbed people that manufacture and push this crap is so disingenuous as to be a complete lie. Those sick or damaged people need help and/or prison which means doctors and police work together to help people in some cases. But leave Cannabis and marijuana enthusiasts out of it completely. Saying Marijuana is a bad drug is a red herring, focus on real issues and problems.

  26. Sadly we’ve all seen the real insanity this weekend. The President himself came forth as a nation and said we need to change. So maybe we can take this money wasted on incarcerating marijuana consumers and use it to REALLY protect our children.

  27. Here in Arkansas,(“The Natural State”), came close to passing a Med Marijuana Bill,but the Dept of Health, and many uncompassionate Ministers and Preachers came out in there Churches against the Ballot,claiming that the Doctors would open the Pot Doors will nilly to everyone. How ignorant! until people open their hearts and minds to this ridiculous waste of Billions ,will this needed decision be finally completed . Fear is what moves too many today, i am not a Democrat, or Republican, this is also a non-partisan issue but a failure of Truth shinning thru ! The reason these politicians are gonna start lining up on the Marijuana Bandwagon is because ,”WE THE PEOPLE “, are sounding off! and two more states have passed it, they,(politicians), are not Heroes But Joe American is. KEEP ON TRUCK’IN !


  29. Cory Booker is following the true path, period.

    @everyone: it’s really great to see how the debate on the subject is opening up!

    If we would find a way how to let our joint actions outweigh our individual (un-)spoken words, dealing with this problem would be a piece of cake.

    All things natural should be legal and unregulated. Nature has its own set of rules that we should not mess with.

    *oh, and in the meanwhile, I’m treating my IBD with ‘Rick Simpson’s Hemp Oil’. I prefer that to incurring another depression caused by pharmaceutical anti-inflamatory drugs such as prednison. Yes, I know it’s illegal. No, I don’t care. I know the truth and I am ready. We’ll start by having a cup of tea (or coffee, whatever) and light up a joint that Tommy Chong would be proud of… 😉


  31. you may be dreaming about pot being considered for decrim or legalization in Fla…I live in Polk County which has a ”good ole boy”sheriff who is a bit of a cult hero…these folks buy into his whole ”shtick”…hes gonna protect Polk County from all the marijuana (which of course leads to all those other drugs) but by golly Grady,you aint gonna outlaw Alcohol or tobacco are ya? mmmmmm…the dangers are documented …why then Grady arent you saving Polk County from Alcohol and tobacco? Have a beer and get back to us!!

  32. I got in a debate the other night with a friend of mine but she really isn’t well studied on the topic. She has spent her entire life listening to the propaganda surrounding Cannabis and she is very hard headed. Oh well… I still love her and I’m going to keep working on her.

  33. I’m really to the point anymore where I don’t care what anyone thinks because I know that if they are for prohibition, they are simply ignorant. Hell I was for 40 years. I was in a VFW the other night and some older lady, about 60, was listening in on a conversation I was having with a friend. Everybody there was drinking and having a good time and I said to my friend loudly, “I’m gonna go get high!” The lady’s eyes almost popped out of her head… as she kept drinking her rum and coke. It’s just hilarious to me anymore. The hypocrisy, the idiocy, the ignorance… and it’s all due to the decades of propaganda and brainwashing.

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