Herb Reese 
Member since Jun 11, 2015



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Re: “Anti-Marijuana Legalization Group is Ready to Fight Recreational Weed Ballot Initiative

While the potential harms of using cannabis are widely publicized (and often exaggerated), little is mentioned of the harms of its prohibition. When making cannabis policy decisions, it would be irresponsible to ignore these harms...and costs.

For this prohibition to be justified it needs to be established that:

1) Cannabis is particularly harmful (at least more than alcohol)
2) The prohibition will significantly reduce problematic usage


3) The direct and indirect costs of prohibition to an American society need to be less than any gains from 1 and 2 (don't underestimate the value we place on freedom and liberty)

None of these 3 requirements have ever been established. After decades of research, the relative safety and medical efficacy of cannabis have been established well enough to conclude that it is significantly less harmful and more useful than alcohol. The vast majority of preventable harms related to cannabis are caused by the very laws that are supposed to "protect us" from it. Some of these harms are:

•Increased deaths of countless people involved on all sides of the "war", including those of law enforcement and bystanders
•The spending of 100's of billions of our dollars seeking out, arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating otherwise law-abiding citizens
•The loss of billions in tax revenue from cultivation, distribution, and sales, which can be used for all substance abuse treatment
•The redirection of valuable police time and resources from solving and preventing true crime
•The filling of our jails with non-violent offenders, exposing them to true criminals and forcing the early release of dangerous criminals
•All sales, over 20 million pounds per year, are unregulated and placed in the hands of criminals who never check ID
•The empowerment and expansion of underground markets as a very popular substance is placed within them
•Increased violent crime as dealers and buyers have no legal recourse to resolve disputes
•Increased exposure to hard drugs as many cannabis consumers buy from suppliers who have access to them, even push them
•Increased likelihood of contamination with anything from harmful pesticides and molds to other drugs
•The prevention of some adults from choosing a recreational substance less harmful than alcohol
•The notion that all illegal drugs are particularly dangerous is weakened
•Increased corruption within the legal system
•The invasion of our civil liberties, which in America we hold in especially high regard
•The prevention of people from receiving effective medicine
•The prevention of people from receiving decent employment, scholarship money, and student aid due to their "criminal" record, which affects not just them but their family as well
•Increased support of tremendous multinational criminal networks
•Increased public mistrust, disrespect, and disdain for our legal system, police, and government, which is devastating to our country

Considering these great costs, it is unreasonable to continue this policy against a substance objectively less harmful than alcohol. Why are we forcing police to deal with something that is, if anything, a minor public health issue? Why are we criminalizing people for something that has been safely enjoyed by millions of Americans for decades, something that a majority of Americans believe should be legalized recreationally?

Cannabis prohibition is a travesty of justice based on irrational fears and paranoia from an archaic era that needs to end now. Cannabis must be legalized and regulated similar to alcohol. Prohibition policies do not work for popular things that are safely enjoyed by many...especially not in a country that values liberty, justice, and freedom.

A vote to end cannabis prohibition is a vote to condemn a costly prohibition that causes more harm than it prevents.

Please urge your legislators to implement a cannabis policy similar to that of alcohol. Consider what the following cannabis legalization organizations have to say. Help end this harmful, unjust, unfounded, unpopular, un-American prohibition by joining their mailing lists, signing their petitions and writing your legislators when they call for it.

MPP - The Marijuana Policy Project - http://www.mpp.org/
DPA - Drug Policy Alliance - http://www.drugpolicy.org/
NORML - National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws - http://norml.org/
LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - http://www.leap.cc/

32 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Herb Reese on 06/11/2015 at 4:52 PM

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