It is time to end the war on marijuana and put in place legal adult use of marijuana.
Progress is being made in many states on legalizing adult use of marijuana and regulating the marijuana market. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized the adult possession and use of marijuana. Eleven of those states have legalized marijuana and regulated cannabis sales. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana.
There are currently over 40,000 people incarcerated for violations of marijuana laws. And, according to the most recent report of the annual FBI Uniform Crime Reports, there were 663,367 marijuana arrests in 2018. 608,776 of those were for possession of marijuana. This is down from 734,497 marijuana arrests in 2000 of which 646,042 (40.9%) were for possession. But in 2018 marijuana arrests had risen for the third year in a row. African Americans are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at nearly four times the rates of white people, yet both groups consume marijuana at roughly the same rates.
While we are making progress the federal government continues to prevent the end of the prohibition of marijuana. It is time to end the war on drugs and repair the damage done to communities by the drug war.
It is time for change on a national level.
Neither of the major party candidates want to end the War on Drugs and legalize marijuana. Trump has continued the drug war policies of previous administrations. He is now using bogus narco-trafficking charges against President Maduro of Venezuela as part of his effort to replace that government with a US-friendly government. While Joe Biden was the principal legislative architect of the drug war and mass incarceration from his time on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Harris’s record as a prosecutor and Attorney General was as a foot soldier in the drug war and mass incarceration.
It is time to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs. Drug abuse should be treated as a health problem, not a criminal problem. Police are not equipped to handle health issues or addiction. We need to put health officials in charge of drug policy and allow adults to grow, consume, and legally purchase marijuana.
Policy Papers and New Coverage on Drug Policy
We need to:
- Repeal criminal laws for marijuana offenses.
- Release all non-violent marijuana offenders from prison.
- Expunge the records of people arrested on marijuana charges.
- Establish a Truth and Reconcillation Commission to study the impact of the War on Drugs and recommend reparations to communities most impacted by it.
- Remove marijuana from the Schedules of the Controlled Substances Act so it can be used medically.
- Allow people to grow their own marijuana without any taxation.
- Tax marijuana like any other commodity without a special marijuana tax.
- Do not allow the liquor, tobacco, pharmaceutical and Big Ag industries, and corporations like Monsanto, to engage in the marijuana market.
- Prevent marijuana oligopolies with caps on limits of market share.