Sep 19, 2019

Democrats, the party of pot

Beto O'Rourke is interviewed in the spin room after last week's debate in Houston. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Joining other 2020 Democrats, Beto O'Rourke released Thursday an "End the War on Drugs" proposal to legalize marijuana "and begin to repair the damage [the war on drugs] has done to communities of color."

Why it matters: The issue reflects how fast 2020 Democrats have moved toward their base. Legalizing marijuana, with a focus on social justice, unites the field, per the N.Y. Times.

Context: Once politically dangerous, "legal marijuana has become something of a de facto platform plank for the 2020 Democratic candidates: All support either legalizing or decriminalizing its use," per USA Today:

  • Joe Biden "is the highest-profile candidate who stops short of full legalization."

How it works: O'Rourke's plan "includes granting clemency to those currently serving sentences for marijuana possession" and " building a model for marijuana regulation similar to how alcohol is regulated."

  • With a federal tax on the marijuana industry, O'Rourke wants to "guarantee that opportunities to profit from a regulated marijuana market are made available to communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs."

Go deeper: Where the top 2020 Democrats stand on criminal justice reform

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: Unrest continues for 6th night across U.S.

A protest near the White House on Sunday night. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Most external White House lights were turned off late Sunday as the D.C. National Guard was deployed to assist and authorities fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters nearby, per the New York Times.

What's happening: It's one of several tense, late-night standoffs between law enforcement and demonstrators.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Journalists get caught in the crosshairs as protests unfold

A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag atop the CNN logo outside the CNN Center during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia, May 29. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Dozens of journalists across the country tweeted videos Saturday night of themselves and their crews getting arrested, being shot at by police with rubber bullets, targeted with tear gas by authorities or assaulted by protesters.

Driving the news: The violence got so bad over the weekend that on Sunday the Cleveland police said the media was not allowed downtown unless "they are inside their place of business" — drawing ire from news outlets around the country, who argued that such access is a critical part of adequately covering protests.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Tanker truck plows into Minneapolis protesters

The tanker after plowing into protesters on the shut-down bridge in Minneapolis on Sunday evening. Authorities said it appeared protesters escaped injury. Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Minnesota authorities said in a statement they're investigating as a criminal matter what happened with a truck that "drove into demonstrators" on a Minneapolis bridge Sunday evening while the eight-lane road was closed for a protest.

What they're saying: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn't appear any protesters were hit by the truck."