The Republican Party controls the legislative and executive branch for the first time since the 109th Congress. Understandably, leadership is anxious to push forward an agenda that comports with longstanding conservative principles of limited government as well as with the President’s populist rhetoric. Advocating for marijuana policy reform ought to be part of this federal agenda. Here’s why.
Paul Armentano | All Articles
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Paul Armentano is the deputy director for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and is the co-author of the book, “Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?”
Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending our nation's nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a taxed and regulated adult marketplace. Twenty-three states now permit the medicinal use of cannabis; four of these states also regulate the plant’s production and sale to adults. The Obama administration has largely taken a ‘hands off’ approach to these statewide policy changes. The next administration ought to as well.
Those opposed to liberalizing marijuana laws allege that legalizing pot will adversely impact society. Yet, as more states move forward with regulatory alternatives to pot prohibition, it is becoming evident that opponents’ fears are largely unwarranted.
Are patients in medical cannabis states substituting pot for potentially lethal painkillers? It appears that way.
Despite over 70 years of federal prohibition, tens of thousands of people throughout the nation are right now purchasing marijuana. But only in Colorado are these transactions legal, regulated, and taxed. The product being marketed is of known quality and potency. The seller is not a black-market dealer; rather, he or she is a paid employee of a licensed business explicitly authorized to engage in such transactions. The profits from these transactions bring fiscal benefits to the local community, not the black-market economy.
On Thursday, August 1, Illinois Democratic Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation into law authorizing patients with a qualifying illness to legally possess and procure medical marijuana. Illinois joins 19 other states and the District of Columbia in its acknowledgement that marijuana is safe and efficacious as a therapeutic agent.
Voters in Colorado and Washington made history on Election Day. For the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition.
The views on marijuana legalization expressed in The Daily Caller last week by The Heritage Foundation’s Charles Stimson (“Why we shouldn’t legalize marijuana,” July 19, 2012) are woefully out of step with contemporary science and public opinion.