Beto O’Rourke Calls For Marijuana Legalization Ahead Of Expected Presidential Run

His stance falls in line with other Democratic candidates

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Staff/Getty Images

Another day, another potential presidential candidate voicing support for the federal legalization of marijuana. In an email sent to supporters, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke reiterated his belief in cannabis reform nationwide, a familiar stance for those that followed his 2018 campaign for Senate.

O’Rourke advocated for federal decriminalization of marijuana as well as expunging the records of those with criminal records for cannabis possession. His proposal was part of a series on criminal justice reform, that also included providing opportunities for convicted criminals to apply for loans and banning the box on job applications that requires someone must disclose their past criminal history.

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“Giving low-level offenders a second chance no matter the color of their skin or the economic status they hold can create opportunity for all of us,” O’Rourke said in the email. “It will help build a future that is more just, more fair, and more prosperous for every single person in this state and this country.”

CNN reports O’Rourke is close to announcing whether he’ll run for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 election. The answer appears to be yes, as O’Rourke’s aids have already discussed possible presidential campaign roles, according to CNN.

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O’Rourke embraced marijuana legalization as early as 2012, when he highlighted cannabis reform during his successful effort to dethrone former Democratic Rep. Silvestre Reyes. Cannabis reform was also a focal point in O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate campaign to oust Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), though he came up short.

Should O’Rourke join the race, his stance would be aligned with the rest of the Democratic field. O’Rourke’s decriminalization plan echoes Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) Marijuana Justice Act legislation, which he-filed last week and has been supported by other presidential candidates like Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT).

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