A Leader for Higher Office
Congresswomen Barbara Lee (left), 4&20 Blackbirds CEO, Chip Moore (center), and Senator Corey Booker (right) of New Jersey.
Come January 20th, 2017, America will suffer from a national leadership deficit and a haphazard administration that is undoubtedly ill prepared to face the challenges ahead. This turmoil will leave our citizens and the people of the world with great uncertainty and begin to establish a new vision for America, a nationalistic agenda based on divisiveness and intolerance. The amount of political pushback required to fight for progressive causes during the next four years of this administration will take the type of energy and vigilance that will define this time in America for generations to come.
In this volatile political climate, it is important to remember that there are leaders who still represent the best qualities of American leadership. There are few elected leaders that inspire the kind of political action and ethos of community that Senator Corey Booker brings to the table.
In a bold move last week, the outspoken Senator formally requested that the Attorney General step in to defend the Water Protectors and their allies protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. His letter called on the Department of Justice to investigate “all credible reports of inappropriate police tactics” and requested the presence of “federal monitors [at] Standing Rock to ensure that protesters can peacefully assemble and exercise their First Amendment rights.”
A few days later, the Army Corp of Engineers halted work on the pipeline and the protesters received a reprieve through the New Year-- a small but important victory for the Sioux tribe and their supporters.
When given the opportunity to make a principled stand for cannabis legalization, Senator Booker did not falter. In 2015, with bipartisan support, he introduced the most comprehensive legislation ever presented to the United States Senate. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS) was authored with bipartisan support from New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul-- literally designed to end the federal prohibition of cannabis. Although this legislation did not make it through the Senate, it was a meaningful first step in the right direction.
Soon after, Booker spoke at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s annual gala to congratulate East Bay’s own Congresswoman Barbara Lee, one of cannabis’ stalwart supporters and recipient of the organization’s 2015 Legislative Leadership Award. The 4&20 Blackbirds team was there to support our political leaders who have a progressive vision for the future of the cannabis industry.
Senator Booker gave an impassioned speech in downtown Oakland where he discussed the future of our country and the work we all must do. I left with a sense of urgency for our nation, but solaced by the presence of political leaders poised to “Make America Great.”
At age 47, Senator Booker is one of the most respected members of one the most exclusive legal bodies in the world, the United States Senate. A serious legislator emerging as a leader of his own party, Booker is not afraid to work with his colleagues across the aisle to tackle the challenges we face, foreign or domestic. Congresswoman Lee said herself, “I am telling you now, I have been doing this for a while...he was meant to hold higher office.”
It is time cannabis and our burgeoning industry have a friend in higher office.