- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Beto O’Rourke on Monday became the latest addition to a crowded list of potential Democratic presidential nominees to support federally legalizing marijuana.

The former congressman from Texas put his weight behind ending federal marijuana prohibition in a lengthy email sent to supports amid mulling running for the White House in 2020.

“I am more convinced than ever that we can and must build a criminal justice system that is more fair and that urgently puts our country closer to the words written above the highest court in our land: equal justice under law,” Mr. O’Rourke wrote.

“First, we need to end the failed war on drugs that has long been a war on people, waged on some people over other people. Who is going to be the last man — more likely than not a black man — to languish behind bars for possessing or using marijuana when it is legal in some form in more than half of the states in this country? We should end the federal prohibition on marijuana and expunge the records of those who were locked away for possessing it, ensuring that they can get work, finish their education, contribute to the greatness of this country,” he added.

Mr. O’Rourke, 46, served three terms in the House prior to an unsuccessful bid to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm races. He said he is considering running against President Trump in 2020, but he has failed so far to announce whether he will follow through.

Marijuana is prohibited under federal law, but most states — 33 and counting — have passed legislation legalizing its medicinal use to varying degrees. Ten of those states have separately legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and seven of those allow it to be legally purchased from licensed dispensaries.

Several declared 2020 presidential hopefuls have previously put their weight behind federally legalizing marijuana, including Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kristen Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as well as Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent.

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