Cory Booker is right: Joe Biden must be 'high' to oppose legalizing marijuana

Elvia Díaz, Arizona Republic

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) smoked former Vice President Joe Biden over marijuana legalization during Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate, and that was great.

Booker called out the former vice president for his recent eye-opening opposition to legalizing weed, jokingly saying he thought Biden “might have been high.”

But this is no joke and Booker quickly and succinctly reminded Biden — and America — of the failed drug policy that's reigned for too long. “Marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people … and the war on drugs has been a war on black and brown people.”

Biden snapped back at Booker to stake his progressive credentials, saying he’s OK letting out of jail anyone with a marijuana conviction and expunging their criminal records. “I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period,” Biden said.

Biden, nonetheless, appears to be the only one or among the few Democratic presidential contenders opposed to legalizing marijuana at the federal level. He argues that more study is needed to determine if weed is a “gateway drug.”

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Biden isn’t just old-fashioned. He’s a stubborn prohibitionist averse to catching up to reality — the inevitability of marijuana legalization. He’s blind and intransigent to the pain and suffering of so many people caught in America’s tough-on-crime penchant.

A handful of states have already legalized pot for recreational purposes but Uncle Sam still considers it an illegal substance.

Marijuana arrests account for more than half of all drugs arrests in the United States, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for marijuana possession, the group states.

And guess what? Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana despite roughly equal usage, the ACLU says.

Give it up for Booker for calling out Biden, one of the frontrunners in the Democratic race for the White House. Are Democrats really going to pick a marijuana prohibitionist as their 2020 standard bearer?   

Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral, where this column originally appeared. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Cory Booker is right: Joe Biden must be 'high' to oppose legalizing pot