Former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke on Monday voiced his support for federal marijuana legalization ahead of the Texas Democrat’s likely campaign for the presidency in 2020.
In an email to supporters, O’Rourke called for nationwide legalization of marijuana and the records of individuals imprisoned over possession to be expunged as part of a broader criminal justice proposal.
“Giving low-level offenders a second chance no matter the color of their skin or the economic status they hold can create opportunity for all of us,” the email reads. “It will help build a future that is more just, more fair, and more prosperous for every single person in this state and this country.”
O’Rouke’s support for marijuana legalization is a policy the potential White House candidate has pushed since serving on the El Paso City Council.
The email comes after O’Rourke told a Texas newspaper that he is “excited” to share his decision on whether he will run for president in 2020.
According to the Dallas Morning News, O’Rourke has ruled out running for the Senate against Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and is expected to announce his campaign for the presidency shortly. “Amy and I have made a decision about how we can best serve our country,” he told the Dallas Morning News, adding that the pair is “excited to share it with everyone soon.”
O’Rourke, who rose to national prominence with his failed campaign to unseat incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has been the subject of intense 2020 speculation for months.
In a recent Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, O’Rourke placed sixth among a roster of current and potential candidates. The poll, reported first by The Hill, shows former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet announced his bid for the White House, leading Democrat White House hopefuls, with 37 percent of Democrat voters. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) came in second place at 22 percent, while Harris notched a third-place finish with 10 percent, according to the survey.