Senator Cory Booker Explains How Drug Law Makes America Less Safe

By May Wilkerson 02/25/15

Booker explained to HuffPost Live how taxpayer money is being wasted on the War on Drugs.

Cory Booker

In a recent interview with HuffPost Live, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker explained how America’s costly War on Drugs is “chewing up taxpayer dollars, squeezing out money” that law enforcement agencies could use to fight other kinds of crimes, like white-collar crime and terrorism. He urged citizens on both sides of the political spectrum to unite on the issue of criminal justice reform.

"We're spending money in the wrong place as a society if we really want to stop the kind of crime that threatens and undermines our economy and our safety,” he said. “Would you rather have a nonviolent drug offender with a bunch of marijuana cost us a million dollars for a high mandatory minimum...or would you rather be able to hire two more investigators to investigate insurance fraud? To investigate other white-collar crimes that are costing society? Or to protect us against terrorism?"

Booker, a Democrat, called criminal justice reform an “issue we can all agree on.” He cited the example of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, who has worked towards sentencing reform for nonviolent drug offenses in order to cut back on his state’s prison population. 

The drug war also fuels both sides of America’s gun debate, since funds aren’t being allocated towards enforcing gun laws already in place.

"We don't actually enforce the [gun] laws that we have well because we have anemic ATF [The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] group because they don't get the funding they need,” said Booker. “Why? Because we're spending so much money funding other agencies prosecuting the drug war."

“This is an area that should, for all of us who want to be diligent with the use of taxpayer funds and the returns we get for our economy, should begin to agree that we've gone way off the right path," he said.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.