It’s not even 2020, but the 2020 Election is already turning personal and combative between presidential candidates for the Democratic nomination. This week saw Sen. Cory Booker aim directly at former Vice President Joe Biden, who released his extensive plan for criminal justice reform, which included Biden’s proposal to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug.
Many within cannabis circles expressed disappointment that Biden’s plan didn’t go far enough. Among Democrat presidential candidates, Biden is the least progressive on marijuana reform with his views barely evolving since 1989. Meanwhile, many top-tier candidates have proposed federal decriminalization of cannabis, including Booker, who has firmly entrenched himself as a leading voice in federal marijuana reform.
All of which might explain Booker targeting Biden after the latter released his criminal justice platform.
“For a guy that helped to be an architect of mass incarceration, this is an inadequate solution to what is a raging crisis in our country,” Booker said to reporters following an appearance at an NAACP forum for presidential candidates.
As part of his criminal justice reform rollout today, Joe Biden’s campaign confirms he would not support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Makes him an outlier in the Dem primary pic.twitter.com/FwmQzye404
— Rebecca Buck (@RebeccaBuck) July 23, 2019
On the same day Biden announced his criminal justice reform, Sen. Kamala Harris announced her proposal for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. Teaming up with House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the MORE Act would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level and create a grant program to assist those disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.
“Joe Biden had more than 40 years to get this right,” Booker added. “The proud architect of a failed system is not the right person to fix it.”
It’s not enough to tell us what you’re going to do for our communities, show us what you’ve done for the last 40 years. You created this system. We’ll dismantle it.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) July 23, 2019
But Biden didn’t allow Booker’s accusations to go unanswered. In an email blast sent by Biden’s campaign, the former VP took the gloves off and questioned Booker’s credentials on criminal justice. Criticism included Booker’s time as Newark Mayor and the ineffectiveness of his policies.
Damn Biden is really hitting back on Booker over criminal justice. From an email blast: pic.twitter.com/PZZly5cUOU
— Harry Cheadle (@HCheadle) July 24, 2019
Here’s one thing we know for certain: Biden and Booker will have a chance to go at it at the upcoming Democratic debates next week. Maybe this time they’ll let Booker discuss cannabis reform.