If Kentucky Rep. Charles Booker (D) wins his main race for U.S. Senate– and initial voting returns from Tuesday’s election put him in the lead so far– the general election match directing to November will see the pro-marijuana legalization prospect face off versus one of the most powerful challenges to reform in Congress: Senate Bulk Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The primary election hasn’t been called yet, however, as votes are being counted, Booker is presently ahead by about four portion points against competitor Amy McGrath, a military veteran who supports medical cannabis legalization but is requiring extra studies prior to she backs broader reform.
Booker, who likewise supports more broadly decriminalizing drug ownership, explained in a speech on election night that he would focus on cannabis reform in the Senate if he defeats the body’s GOP leader on Election Day.
” We deserve a commonwealth where we don’t criminalize a plant, where we do not throw individuals away that are experiencing discomfort and injury, where we are not dealing with among the highest imprisonment rates on the planet since we criminalize hardship,” he stated. “We can break these chains, and we’ve got to do it.”
Watch Booker discuss the requirement to end cannabis criminalization listed below, starting around 9: 50:
It’s not simply project rhetoric, either.
Throughout his time in the Kentucky Home, the legislator has ben the lead sponsor of 2 bills to decriminalize marijuana possession, consisting of one that would have offered expungements of prior marijuana convictions. The version this year would have made it so the charge for possessing up to 100 grams of marijuana would be a $100 fine.
This session, I submitted legislation to decriminalize cannabis ownership. #420 day
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) April 20, 2019
I filed a bill to decriminalize at the state level last session, and am preparing a new draft now.
We understand it is time for reform.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) June 26, 2019
Today, I filed legislation to decriminalize marijuana belongings. This expense has been pushed with bipartisan assistance in the past, and it is time we take this important step to bring more equity to our justice system.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) February 7, 2019
Honored to be a part of making history, herstory, theirstory, and outstory today.
Moments ago, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed a costs to legislate medical marijuana. Happy to co-sponsor this essential action toward helping households alleviate their discomfort.
A good day, certainly.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) February 20, 2020
Another medical marijuana bill he cosponsored last year passed out of committee but did stagnate even more
What a day!!!
Our bill to provide emergency prescription refills for diabetics (HB 64) passed out of Senate Health & Well-being! Thank you again, @drdanbentley!
PLUS, our costs to legislate medical marijuana (HB 136) lost consciousness of your house Judiciary! Yell out to @jmnemes!
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) March 7, 2019
Booker was also one of three cosponsors of a expense to legislate marijuana for adult use that did not advance.
” Full legalization and decriminalization of marijuana will allow us to empower people instead of prosecuting them; it will permit us to invest less taxpayer dollars on needlessly locking people up and to bring in much-needed extra earnings for state and local governments; and it will offer us a non-opioid solution for individuals experiencing discomfort,” his campaign site says
When it concerns a post-prohibition world, Booker wishes to make sure that neighborhoods targeted by the war on drugs are made whole.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) November 26, 2019
— Complete legalization
— Expungement of records
— Treatment, education, and assistance over criminalization
— Direct access to capital and entrepreneurial opportunities for marginalized neighborhoods historically targeted by the war on drugs
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) October 25, 2019
On social media, the prospect has consistently talked about drug policy reform, calling for legalization and decriminalization as a criminal justice reform concern.
Legalizing cannabis is about righting a substantial incorrect. It is about acknowledging our history, and accepting that our method now contrasts our objectives of a safer, much healthier society.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) August 28, 2019
Though terrific news, this is yet another example of why we all need to be ill and tired of corruption and structural injustice.
Meanwhile, we still need to move mountains to decriminalize cannabis and make sure that loose cigarettes don’t merit a suffocating chokehold. https://t.co/NywbzBKDmj
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) August 27, 2019
He has also spoken more broadly about the requirement to treat substance abuse as a health problem, rather of with a criminal justice technique.
” Charles also supports wider decriminalization of drug use, and increased treatment supports for individuals convicted of drug-related offenses,” his project site says “To make certain the objective of our justice system is to help individuals heal, and not profit from the jail industrial complex, Charles supports an end to private prisons.”
Attended a neighborhood discussion on opioid abuse. It is vital we make sure all Kentuckians have actually the assistances needed to avoid & beat addiction. Let’s lastly deal with the issue of drug abuse, rather of simply criminalizing people in requirement. @AndyBeshearKY thanks for your management! pic.twitter.com/4Q3sSGj7Xi
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) July 26, 2018
I typically hear it said that we can not allow weapon violence to end up being the standard. Sadly though, it currently is, and we already have. We allow it in our weak laws on weapon security. We permit it in our continued policies that concentrate hardship and criminalize substance abuse instead of treatment.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) August 26, 2018
McGrath, on the other hand, has actually also discussed cannabis policy on her social media accounts and project site, though her propositions and declarations haven’t been nearly as significant.
In 2018, she voiced support for a veterans group requiring the federal rescheduling of cannabis and stated there need to be increased research into the plant’s possible healing benefits.
I’m happy to stand with @AmericanLegion in requiring the elimination of #cannabis from Schedule I, and requiring more research study into the efficacy of #MMJ in dealing with #PTSD, #ChronicPain and other conditions #veterans face.
— Amy McGrath (@AmyMcGrathKY) January 18, 2018
Under a veterans-focused section of her project site, she specifies that “veterans suffering from chronic discomfort and PTSD report improved health results from medical marijuana.”
” I stand with the American Legion in calling for the removal of cannabis as a Set up 1 drug and allow its usage to treat ailments that veterans, and others, face,” McGrath stated “It may also alleviate reliance on opioids for pain relief and that alone is a significant factor to consider moving in that direction.”
Unlike Booker, she isn’t prepared to support full cannabis legalization, however.
” On the problem of complete legalization, I wish to see our federal government license full research on the subject,” McGrath said in a Facebook post. “The Schedule 1 classification suggests that we can’t even conduct studies on the impact of legalization. Maybe it’s the military officer in me, however I’m all about thoughtful planning and research study prior to diving head initially into totally opening that door.”
If Booker prevails in his main race when all the votes are counted, drug policy will represent an area of considerable contrast in between him and McConnell, who has championed and campaigned on hemp legalization however continues to knock what he calls the crop’s “illegal cousin,” cannabis.
However like McConnell, the state lawmaker and potential opposition has actually also shown appreciation for the innovativeness of Kentucky’s hemp market. In 2016, for example, he shared a photo of a menu including “hemp-infused beef hot dogs” at the Kentucky State Fair.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) August 18, 2016
” Yeah, that occurred today!” he stated.
Picture courtesy of Philip Steffan