Next Tuesday, three voters in three states — Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — will be deciding on statewide ballot measures to legalize the adult possession, use, and distribution of cannabis. Today, US News & World Report ‘Debate Club’ asks its readers: “Should marijuana use be legalized?”
I, along with Alison Holcolm (New Approach Washington), provide commentaries in favor of ending cannabis prohibition. [Update: MPP's Morgan Fox also now has a commentary here.]
An excerpt from my op/ed appears below:
Marijuana Regulation Works and Prohibition Fails
via US News & World Report
Come November 7, voters in one, if not two, U.S. states will have decided in favor of legally regulating cannabis. Why? The answer is clear: regulation works; prohibition fails.
Since 1965, the FBI reports that U.S. law enforcement have made over 22 million arrests for marijuana violations. Yet cannabis consumption and the public’s access to pot remain undeterred. Cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes upon legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.
It’s time to stop stigmatizing and criminalizing tens of millions of Americans for choosing to consume a substance that is safer than either tobacco or alcohol.
… [A] pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production and sale of cannabis to adults—but restricts use among young people—would best reduce risks associated with its use or abuse.
… In short, it’s legalization, regulation and public education—coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions—that most effectively keeps mind-altering substances out of the hands of children.
You can read the full text of my commentary here.
You can read Alison Holcolm’s contribution, “Marijuana Use Should Not Be a Crime,” here.
Predictably, longtime cannabis prohibitionists Kevin Sabet, a former assistant to the Drug Czar, and David Evans, an adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation, provide the ‘con’ perspective. You can read their contributions (largely for entertainment purposes only) here and here.
As in past editions of US News’ ‘Debate Club’, editors are asking visitors to vote ‘up’ the commentaries they like and to vote ‘down’ the arguments they oppose. Make your opinion heard. Please vote and share.