U.S. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker's (D) proposal to legalize marijuana on a federal level comes face to face with new opponents. Among them is the national non-profit and non-partisan organization 'Smart Approaches to Marijuana' (SAM).

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Senator booker feels the federal marijuana prohibition unfairly targets minorities and the poor who are being arrested on pot related offenses.

S.A.M. President and CEO Dr. Kevin Sabet, who previously served in the Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations as an advisor for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, says they agree with booker that minorities are unfairly targeted and arrested for drug related offense and that prison terms more harsh for african-americans than whites.

However he says their scientific research shows that legalizing weed won't solve the problem and make it go away just like that.

"This is a policy that benefits upper class rich white guys from Wall Street, not the residents of New Jersey and certainly not the under served residents of New Jersey," said Sabet.

He says they've started an ad campaign showing their research and the arrest disparities between white kids and hispanic or african-american kids.

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(Video courtesy of 'Smart Approaches to Marijuana')

Science advisory board member with S.A.M. and Director of Substance Dependence at the University of Colorado Dr. Paula Riggs says a main concern they have is the health risk associated with smoking marijuana.

"We think it's precipitating more psychosis among young people and delirium among all age groups," said Riggs.

She adds many users, even a beginner who may be using it recreationally, are then getting high to due to chemical compound, THC, found inside the weed.

"We think that's driving a greater proportion to become dependent or addicted to marijuana," said Riggs.

The organization also feels legalizing pot wouldn't solve the unfair targeting of arrests against minorities.

Special Assistant for Communications and Outreach with S.A.M. Will Jones, a minority himself, led a campaign against the legalization of marijuana in Washington D.C. in 2014 called 'Two is Enough' which focused on targeted arrests of minorities due to tobacco or alcohol offenses but now they may have a third (marijuana).

"I don't want to see a third recreational drug coming into our communities and doing what the alcohol and tobacco industries have done," said Jones.

He adds it also poses a health risk and he's seen people (as a local firefighter) smoking weed in D.C. in front of their little kids.

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(Video courtesy of 'Smart Approaches to Marijuana')

Raul Riesgo, a latino community activist in Los Angeles, says he's worked with communities in California who want nothing to do with it or commercial shops in their neighborhoods and are sometimes afraid to fight back.

"Many cannabis owners are really making a big push to go into these communities who don't have the political power or the strength to push back, but the community members now are pushing back," said Riesco.

His fear is that legalization of weed on a federal level will only maximize the amount of people wanting to open up commerical shops to sell it and smoke it.

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