California’s Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to know why more of his colleagues don’t support efforts to legalize marijuana.
Newsom said that many of his colleagues say the so-called “war on drugs” as a failure, so he wonders openly why they don’t see the benefits of legalizing the drug, The Huffington Post reported Thursday.
“What we’re doing to criminalize the drug is not working,” Newsom said. “For me, you can’t be neutral here … Either come out vehemently against it with a better alternative, explain away the status quo because you’re complicit in it, or come on board”
Newsom argues that legalization would take funding away from drug cartels, allow for regulations to help ensure that underage kids don’t have such easy access to the drug, and lessen the impact prohibition has on communities of color.
He is not the only lieutenant governor who sees the futility of marijuana prohibition. Vermont Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott stopped short of advocating for legalization, but said in a statement he “can appreciate the discussion around ending the prohibition of marijuana.”
Former Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry and Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy also favor legalization efforts.
He also wants to highlight the distinction between being pro-pot and understanding the failures of the war on drugs. “You don’t have to be pro-marijuana to be anti-prohibition,” he said.
Newsom is running for Governor of California in 2018, and hopes that his outspoken position on legalization will help other politicians throw their support behind the effort.
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