The War on Drugs hasn't curbed drug use, but it has led to the United States having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Punitive sentences for victimless crimes and overzealous law enforcement tactics bloat our budgets, devastate families and communities, and perpetuate racial inequality. The War on Drugs creates violence here in the U.S. and throughout Latin America, undermining the rule of law and empowering violent gangs.
If the United States is to be a beacon of liberty and equality, it’s time to end the failed drug war.
Marijuana reform has become a mainstream issue—even the New York Times supports ending the federal prohibition of marijuana—but I'm the only candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia who supports it.
If elected, I will champion ending marijuana prohibition.
Short of full legalization at the federal level, I will also support legislation to ensure that the federal government, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, respects duly-enacted state laws regarding recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, and industrial hemp.
I also pledge to work with members of both major parties to alleviate some of the devastating consequences of the drug war:
- I support sentencing reform like the Smarter Sentencing Act, which is modest, bipartisan legislation that would cut federal mandatory minimums for drug sentences in half and give judges greater flexibility when sentencing low-level offenders.
- I support civil asset forfeiture reform to remove the incentives to "police for profit" and to protect due process and property rights of Americans who have not been convicted of a crime.
- I support efforts to end police militarization. Virginia has had enough experiences with overly aggressive police tactics. In 2006, Sal Culosi was shot and killed during a SWAT raid over a non-violent, small-time gambling offense. And in 2013, six plain-clothed ABC officers drew their weapons and swarmed a trio of young women who had done nothing more than buy sparkling water.