SAN QUENTIN, Calif. (KTVU) - Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke took a campaign stop in Oakland on Thursday, deciding to spend time at a cannabis dispensary to talk about "equity and justice."
The roundtable discussion took place inside Blunts and Moore at 701 66th Avenue, a warehouse directly across the street from the Coliseum.
O'Rourke first greeted employees, then took a tour of the facility. He was shown different products and spoke about his plan to end the war on drugs.
The visit came after O'Rourke recently unveiled his plan, which includes a sweeping proposal to legalize marijuana, something that's already happened in California.
O'Rourke said the war on drugs has been unfair to minorities and to those living in poverty, and he wants to grant clemency to those behind bars for marijuana possession. He also wants to create a program where the majority of licenses to produce and sell cannabis go to minority-owned businesses.
"It has become a war on people," O'Rourke said, "and for some people more than others."
Oakland was the first city in the country to create a "cannabis equity" program in 2017, which mandates that 50% of new cannabis-related businesses in Oakland must be run by people who have either been convicted of a cannabis-related crime or have lived in one of the 20 or so designated districts with disproportionate numbers of cannabis-related arrests for 10 of the last 20 years.
Blunts and Moore was the pioneer of that pilot effort, according to Weed Maps. He noted that oneof the business partners had been arrested for marijuana possession as a teen, and is now a part owner of the business.
O'Rourke's visit to Oakland wraps up a three-day visit to California. On Tuesday, he went to Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles, which has one of the largest homeless populations in the country. On Wednesday, O'Rourke spoke at a fundraiser in Marin County and visited San Quentin prison, where he spoke with inmates about criminal justice reform.
KTVU's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.