Newark New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker (D) said Monday that he wants to be a leader in the drug reform movement no matter where he goes next in his public career, explaining that America must "radically change" the "insanity" of its generations-old drug war.


Explaining to Huffington Post Live that marijuana legalization is only the beginning, Booker recommended viewing the pro-reform documentary "Breaking the Taboo," which was recently made freely available on YouTube.

"We have seen so much of our national treasure being spent in the drug war and, and now we've, in my opinion, churned human life into incarceration, trapping into into poverty," he said. "I'm not saying people don't need to take responsibility for their own lawlessness, but what I've seen in Newark is that there's a massive trap in this drug war. And it's not just a trap for the individuals being arrested, it's a trap for taxpayers, communities and towns."

"We're not making our nation safer with this assault on the drug war," Booker added. "We're not making our nation less addicted to substances. We need to change, I believe, radically change the national conversation and begin to talk about drugs -- especially drugs like pot -- in a different way."

The drug reform movement's true goals, he said, should be creating policies that "strongly empower human beings to succeed to deal with drug addiction and the like, and allow us to turn our attentions and energies and investment in areas that actually celebrate human liberty and celebrate human success and accomplishment."

"This is a conversation that, no matter what I do -- mayor, governor, senator -- I want to be one of the people hopefully trying to lead the national conversation away from this insanity that we have right now."

Booker, one of the nation’s most popular mayors, was once seen as a likely challenger to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), who has seen his popularity surge following Hurricane Sandy. He is, however, more likely to make a leap into the U.S. Senate in 2014 -- an arguably more influential national platform.

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Photo: Flickr user David Shankbone, creative commons licensed.

The video below is from Huffington Post Live, published Monday, December 17, 2012.