Congressional candidate Emin "Eddie" Egriu is demanding an end to the "war on weed."
Egriu, who is challenging Rep. Brian Higgins in this fall's Democratic primary, says the government is wasting time money and energy on marijuana.
The Buffalo businessman says if elected, he would introduce legislation in Washington to expunge all marijuana convictions.
"All my life I've believed it was not a crime and I think those people that are in [prison] for non-violent [crimes] due to marijuana should be out of jail today," Egriu said at a news conference in Buffalo Tuesday.
Egriu says the nation's aggressive enforcement of marijuana laws needlessly burdens hundreds of thousands of people and wastes billions of taxpayer dollars.
"Marijuana, legal or not, is always going to be around. So we might as well make it legal, create an economy [and] create a tax base," he added.
Egriu was arrested in 2006 for allegedly purchasing marijuana on Buffalo's East side. The charges were later dropped.
Egriu is running in the 26th District, which includes the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls.