Booker says marijuana legalization needed to solve 'twin crisis'

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Holds News Conference Introducing The Cannabis Administration And Opportunity Act

Kevin Dietsch

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said that marijuana legalization is needed to solve the "twin crisis" of people still being arrested for cannabis possession and the inability of those operating legal cannabis businesses to access the banking system.

Booker made the comments in a video posted on his Twitter page on Friday. It was first reported on by Marijuana Moment.

"We are not seeing the kind of democratizing force many of us hoped that marijuana legalization would be, so now we need to move on the federal level," Booker said.

Regarding the lack of access to banking services, Booker couched the issue in terms of how not being able to get small business loans makes it more difficult for minority-owned shops to compete with dispensaries run by large companies.

The senator referenced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), a broad piece of legislation in the Senate that would achieve marijuana legalization, criminal justice reforms, and financial help for dispensary owners who were impacted by the war on drugs.

However, the CAOA is seen as having slim chances of winning approval in the Senate.

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The SAFE Banking Act, passed in the House, is a standalone bill that would give legal cannabis businesses access to the US banking system. However, Booker has said for SAFE Banking to succeed in the Senate, it would need changes to help those disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition.

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