This week Elizabeth Warren gained attention nationwide after announcing her higher education platform that would eliminate tuition for two-year and four-year public college, in addition to wiping away student loan debt for millions of Americans. But during a CNN town hall for presidential candidates, Warren also doubled down on her support for marijuana legalization.
A major impetus for her support? Racial disparities in current marijuana prohibition laws.
“The best evidence suggests that African Americans and whites use marijuana at about the same rates,” she said, according to Huffington Post.
“But African Americans are more likely to be arrested [than] whites are … if we talk about criminal justice reform, we need to start with the things we make illegal. One of the best places we could start with is the legalization of marijuana.”
No one should go to jail for a joint. But more Americans are arrested for marijuana possession than all violent crimes combined. And black Americans are nearly 4x more likely to be arrested for it than whites. My new bill will help put an end to this two-tiered justice system.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 7, 2018
While Warren delicned to publicly endorse her home state of Massachusetts’s ballot vote for recreational marijuana legalization in 2016, she responded to a Harvard student that suggested she opposed the state’s medical marijuana vote back in 2013. In fact, over the past few years, Warren has been one of the biggest public supporters of marijuana reform.
“I supported Massachusetts changing its laws on marijuana and I now support the legalization of marijuana [in the United States],” the senator replied.
Along with Sen. Cory Gardner (CO-R), Warren is one of the lead sponsors on the STATES Act, which would protect those in states with legalized marijuana from any federal prosecution or regulation. In addition, Warren co-sponsored other significant pieces of marijuana legislation like the SAFE Banking Act—which would protect banks and credit unions who want to work with cannabis companies from federal penalties—and the Marijuana Justice Act—which would remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances, making it legal on the federal level.
The federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana. States should make their own decisions about enforcing marijuana laws.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 20, 2018
She currently has an A ranking from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).