A New Marijuana Law Reform Champion?
It’s no secret that more people are needed in Congress that support marijuana law reform. A recent vote to defund the Department of Justice’s medical marijuana crackdown fell short by about 100 votes despite the fact that 74% of Americans support ending it.
So the math tells us we need more votes. And one of those votes could come from Beto O’Rourke (D), who just beat an eight-time incumbent in their south Texas congressional primary (http://www.thcfinder.com/marijuana-blog/politics/2012/05/marijuana-legalization-supporter-beat-8time-incumbent-in-congressional-primary) and is looking good to take the general election in a heavily Democratic district.
Below is a speech O’Rourke made a few years ago on drug policy reform. Hopefully he will be in Congress soon, and even if he isn’t outspoken on these issues at first, he will be one more vote toward freedom for cannabis users, and one more vote against the federal medical marijuana crackdown.
Every vote counts, especially in Congress where there are so few. And many are tired of failed drug policies that do nothing to limit use and everything to foster violence. Especially voters along the Mexican border. They look south and see a cloud of death and destruction coming their way.
Maybe Beto O’Rourke will be a new voice of reason in a sea of ignorance.
Rhode Island May Do Away with Jail Time for Marijuana Possession
Two bills have passed the Judiciary Committee in the Rhode Island House and Senate, bills that would make possession of up to an ounce of marijuana punishable by only a fine, whereas right now offenders could get up to one year in jail.
Under H 7092 and the Senate version, S 2253, possession of up to an ounce would only get the offender a $150 fine in most cases. A poll taken in the state in January showed 65% of likely voters favored a reduction of penalties for simple possession of marijuana.
“My forty years as a public health advocate have convinced me that decriminalizing marijuana possession is a sensible move for both public health and public safety,” said Dr. David Lewis, professor of community health and medicine and founder of the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. “From a public health perspective, marijuana presents far fewer health risks than cigarettes or alcohol. Public safety will benefit after a shift from criminal to civil penalties for marijuana possession because law enforcement officials will be able to attend to more serious crimes. Contrary to common fears, the evidence from many states shows that decriminalizing possession does not result in a significant rise in marijuana use. I’m grateful that Rhode Island is moving toward a less punitive policy.”
Dr. Glenn Loury, professor of social science and economics at Brown University said of the bills, “H 7092 and S 2253 represent the beginning of a new way forward for marijuana policy in the Ocean State – an approach that moves away from punitive law enforcement tactics by placing a greater emphasis on public health.”
Small steps, but steps in a positive direction. The less marijuana users go to jail, the better. Both bills now have to be voted on in their respective chambers.
Man Tries to Pay for Dinner With Marijuana
Gary Johnson on Pardoning Non-Violent Drug Offenders
Former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Gary Johnson has been very outspoken about his feelings that marijuana should be legalized, and legalization will be great for millions of cannabis users when it comes, but what about the people already in jail?
More to the point, what about all those people in jail for non-violent drug offenses? Those who never hurt anyone else and yet for some reason languish in jail, what happens to them?
Each individual marijuana legalization law throughout the states will hopefully have provisions for releasing those who are only there for marijuana. And as other drugs are legalized, the same will be true for those offenders. If provisions are not written into the law, each Governor and President will have to be the ones to take things on a case-by-case basis, a rather inefficient way of granting freedom to those who deserve it.
After all, why should people be locked up if they haven’t infringed on the rights of another? What is the justification? That they might commit a real crime in the future? You might as well, should the police come take you to jail right now?
Here are candidate Johnson’s feelings on the issue.
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