Beto O’Rourke calls for legalizing marijuana

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Thursday called for ending the “federal prohibition on marijuana” because of the way US drug laws disproportionately put minorities in prison.

“We can free ourselves from the distinction of being the country that imprisons more of its citizens than any other country on the face of the planet,” he told a group of diners at a restaurant in Keokuk, Iowa. “And guess what: By and large they do not look like this room. They are browner and blacker than most of America.”

O’Rourke, a Texas Democrat who announced earlier Thursday that he was entering the race, said people across the country use drugs at the same rate.

“Only some face arrest, faced imprisonment, and when they get out forced to check a box that says they have a conviction which diminishes their opportunities in life to hold a job, to raise a family, to get a loan, to be successful,” he said.

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