Booker calls war on drugs ‘tremendous failure,’ urges end of medical marijuana producer prosecutions

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Cory Booker, the likely next U.S. senator from New Jersey, blasted the war on drugs and the Obama administration’s prosecution of people who grow medical marijuana in a series of Twitter posts over the weekend, offering views that may delight liberals who are wary of the Newark mayor’s more conservative stances on other issues.

He called U.S. drug policy over the last two decades “a tremendous failure driving poverty and disparity & not helping us achieve greater security or health” and wrote, “I’m deeply sad that US citizens (like in CA) are fully abiding by state drug laws & helping sick ppl [sic], yet face federal prosecution.”

The responses came after a question from one of his Twitter followers.  They were first reported by the Huffington Post.

Booker’s comments are notable, because he is likely to be elected to the U.S. Senate in October, becoming the chamber’s only black Democrat. And he is already one of the most-high profile politicians in the Democratic primary.

It’s also a rare break between Booker and Obama. The administration has taken gradual steps to end the war on drugs, particularly Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech last week in which he suggested the Department of Justice would try to avoid charging non-violent drug offenders with crimes that would invoke mandatory minimum sentences. The president has said he has “bigger fish to fry” than fighting against states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

But the Obama administration has continued some prosecutions of people who operate large medical marijuana distribution operations.

Booker has pledged to push for broader changes to American drug policy if elected.