Bill legalizing marijuana at the federal level introduced by NJ Sen. Cory Booker

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker says he's introducing legislation to legalize marijuana at the federal level.

Booker announced his measure Tuesday in a Facebook Live video.

"I have seen children, young teenagers, getting arrested, saddled with criminal convictions for the rest of their lives for doing things more minor in terms of drug use, than two of our last three presidents admitted to doing," Booker said in the video.

He says the legislation is needed to because the federal marijuana prohibition unfairly affects poor and minority citizens, who he says are subject to arrest at greater rates than wealthier and white people.

The legislation comes in the face of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' stiff opposition to the drug. Sessions has said he wants to crack down on the drug even as a growing number of states legalize it.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana.

In New Jersey the Democratic front-runner for governor, Phil Murphy, supports legalization. Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno says she backs decriminalization.