Sen. Cory Booker is making sure drug reform isn’t swept under the rug during this year’s election cycle. He grilled the newest Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on the history of cannabis prohibition and the racial disparities that spawn from cannabis enforcement.
Booker reminded the SCOTUS nominee that as early as 2017, there were more cannabis arrests than all violent crime combines. That means three years ago while legal cannabis sales are reaching billions of dollars, there are people rotting in cages for consuming and selling the exact same plant.
“One of the greatest drivers of disparities [in the justice system]—I’ve worked with partners of mine on both sides of the aisle—has been the so-called war on drugs, which really is a war on black and brown people because of the outrageous disparities,” Booker said passionately.
Booker also brought up the differences in mandatory minimum sentencing between powdered and crack cocaine. These two substances are chemically identical yet crack carries a much heavier punishment. Why? Because it’s associated with black users while powdered cocaine is associated with white users.
Cory Booker didn’t ask any specific question on policy issues, but he did recommend the “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander. Booker has been a vocal cannabis reformist for some time and it’s good to know he’s pressing issues people care about while the world seems to be collectively losing their mind around COVID 19 and election cycle hysteria.
Cannabis reform has definitely taken a back seat when compared to past elections, but it’s good to see not everyone has forgotten that cannabis and drug reform represent a lot more than just legal cannabis sales and making money.