Tulsi Gabbard
US Democratic Presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard

US Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard on Friday, August 16, pledged to end the federal prohibition on marijuana as part of her campaign. The Representative from Hawaii recently announced a two-week break from her campaigns to join active duty training in Indonesia. 

Gabbard said incarceration of people for using marijuana counter "everything" America stands for in a tweet.

The Hawaii Democrat announced in a news release earlier this week that she will be joining the joint military exercise. 

"While some people are telling me, 'Gosh, this is a terrible time to leave the campaign. Can't you find a way out of it?' That's not what this is about," she said. 

"I will be doing a training exercise with the Indonesian military, focused on a few different things like counterterrorism, humanitarian aid, and disaster response," she added. 

Gabbard's performance against rival senator Kamala Harris in the second Democratic debates made her the most searched candidate last month after she pointed out Harris's contentious claims about her criminal justice record. 

 "She put over 1500 people in jail for marijuana violations and laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana," Gabbard said on stage. 

The congresswoman in an interview said she is aware that she is yet to qualify for the third round of debates in September and said that "there's a lot" that's out of her control.

However, she said that she grateful that she can serve the country and "American people in many ways, including as a soldier."

"I'm not really thinking about how this will impact my campaign," Gabbard added. "I'm looking forward to being able to fulfil my service and my responsibility."

The US Army veteran who has served for 16 years in military services including deployment to the middle-east - Iraq in 2004 and Kuwait in 2008, and has made ending long, costly wars the central focus of her campaign. 

Gabbard's identification as a soldier, having served in conflict regions, made her attacks on the current state of foreign policy combined with personal experience, a newfound crowd favourite. 

"For too long, we had leaders who have been arbitrating foreign policy from ivory towers in Washington without any idea about the cost and the consequence, the toll it takes on our service members, on their families," she said in the second primary debates.

"We have to do the right thing. End the wasteful regime change wars and bring our troops home," she said.