Politics

Tim Ryan Announces Support for Legalizing Marijuana Nationwide

Ohio Democrat writes, ‘I find the social and economic injustices of our marijuana policy too big to ignore’

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, announced his support for legalizing marijuana nationwide in an op-ed for CNN. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ohio Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan announced his support for legalizing marijuana nationwide.

The Ohio Democrat wrote in an op-ed for CNN that as co-chairman of the House Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, he was reluctant to support legalization.

“But after meeting with countless Ohio families and youth whose lives have been irreparably harmed by a marijuana arrest, I find the social and economic injustices of our marijuana policy too big to ignore,” he said.

Ryan also announced his support for the Marijuana Justice Act, which is sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Booker’s legislation would not only remove marijuana from being a Schedule I drug and would allow people currently serving to have their marijuana sentences nullified after a judge reviews them.

It would also give incentives for states and localities to change marijuana laws if the laws disproportionately affected communities of color.

“We need to invest in a country that works for all Americans. We need every citizen working to keep America moving forward,” he said. “Instead, we are keeping one in five Americans off the economic playing field — the majority of them people of color.”

Ohio’s 13th District, which Ryan represents, has an 11 percent African-American population.

Ryan previously challenged Nancy Pelosi to be House Minority Leader but failed. He has since campaigned for Democrats nationwide running in lower-profile races.

Ryan is also an advocate for Democrats to appeal to working class white voters who used to vote for them but broke for President Donald Trump.

The support for legalizing marijuana comes a day after Ryan announced he joined the nascent Medicare for All Caucus.

Last year, Ryan also said he would give away money he previously received from the National Rifle Association to pro-gun control groups.

Like Booker, Ryan is considered a potential candidate for the Democratic nomination for President.

Other Democrats who are considering running for president who support Booker’s legislation are Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand.

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