Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, first made national headlines after publicly stating his support for marijuana legalization in 2009, Vox reports.
O’Rourke, who was at that point a member of the El Paso City Council, introduced a resolution calling for “an honest, open national debate on ending the prohibition of narcotics.”
He later referred to the war on drugs as a “complete failure.”
“If our drug laws were different, I will absolutely guarantee you that our body count would be different,” he added, referring to the violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
His resolution unanimously passed the City Council, but was vetoed by the mayor who warned the members that overriding the veto could harm the city’s attempt to get funding from a congressional stimulus package.
Last Thursday, O’Rourke called for an end to the “federal prohibition on marijuana” shortly after announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.
“We can free ourselves from the distinction of being the country that imprisons more of its citizens than any other country on the face of the planet,” he said, according to the New York Post. “And guess what: By and large they do not look like this room. They are browner and blacker than most of America.”
“Only some face arrest, faced imprisonment, and when they get out forced to check a box that says they have a conviction which diminishes their opportunities in life to hold a job, to raise a family, to get a loan, to be successful,” he added.
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