AOC supports cannabis legalization and ending the war on drugs. Democrats and Republicans are usually divided on a range of big policy issues, however Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat-NY) said on Thursday that legalizing cannabis and ending the war on drugs are standing out as exceptions to hyper-partisanship in Congress.
During a virtual town hall with cannabis reform ally Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Democrat-OR), Ocasio-Cortez said that since she took office, it’s been encouraging to see members on both sides come together on issues concerning “civil rights policy and civil liberties,” including ending “drug prohibition laws.”
“We have been able to suggest solutions on a broad spectrum towards cannabis decriminalization, towards legalization, and that’s increasingly turning into a stance that more Republicans are amenable to,” Ocasio-Cortez stated.
Examples include her spending bill amendment to divert $5 million in funding from the Drug Enforcement Administration to an opioid treatment plan has been approved with no opposition in the House this past year, she stated. This shows the commitment that AOC supports cannabis legalization.
Blumenauer also stated that “part of why we’re fighting so strongly to get rid of the failed prohibition on marijuana is because that has been a tool that’s been used against people of color in particular that has horrible consequences and helps fuel that prison pipeline that has wreaked such havoc on our communities.”
Ocasio-Cortez explained that, beyond federally legalizing marijuana, it is important for lawmakers to make certain that any regulated markets which emerge are organized in a manner that encourages participation by communities hurt under prohibition. Considering AOC supports cannabis legalization on a federal level will have a big impact going into 2021.
Ocasio-Cortez said, “There are various ways that we may go about legalizing marijuana in America, and you can go about it in a manner that concentrates power in large agriculture, that concentrates power in large banks and that cuts out small mom and pops, and then there is another route towards cannabis legalization where regular people and especially the black and brown communities which have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs can be in the front of enjoying the financial benefits of legalization.”