In 2011 he included a book arguing for the legalization of marijuana, saying it was an important step in reducing violence in Mexico. He entered national politics by ousting the Democratic Rep. Silvestre Reyes at a major premiere in 2012 with a campaign built on challenging Reyes' opposition to legal marijuana.
As a presidential candidate, O & # 39; Rourke handled the issue as a matter of racial injustice, pointing out in Iowa in March that those arrested on marijuana charges were "darker and darker" than most of America. "
His plan aims to regulate marijuana in ways that are more like alcohol: requiring IDs to buy it, focusing on preventing driving under the influence and limiting its use in public spaces.
O & # 39; Rourke's plan would also prevent the federal government from using marijuana-related offenses as grounds to expel undocumented immigrants.
His plan called for a federal tax on the marijuana industry ̵1; though it did not specify what that tax would be. Proceeds from the tax will be used to fund a series of goals, including supporting social re-action for inmates for marijuana possession, funding substance abuse programs and providing money to former convicts of marijuana offenses in state and federal prisons – which the campaign calls for a "Drug War Justice Grant."
It prioritizes minority-owned businesses and people convicted of marijuana offenses by obtaining licenses to produce, distribute and sell marijuana.
O & # 39; Rourke rolled in his proposal with roundtables dedicated to this week's issue in Los Angeles and Oakland, as well as a Reddit AMA ("Ask Me Anything") planned for on Thursday.
"We need to not only end the ban on marijuana, but also fix the damage that has been done to communities of color that cannot be locked up in our criminal justice system or locked in because of the war on Drugs, "O 'Rourke said in a statement that included the release of his plan.
"These inequalities have been compounded for decades, as predominantly white communities have provided the majority of lucrative business opportunities, while communities of color face extreme. seating and criminality. to begin to resolve injustices in the past and to help the people and communities more affected by this false work. "