Target: Congressman Jim McDermott, member of the Ways and Means Committee
Goal: End federal prohibition of marijuana
With 18 states and the District of Columbia having legalized marijuana for medical use, 15 states having decriminalized it for personal use, and with Colorado and Washington voting to legalize marijuana like alcohol, the federal government should rethink its views on marijuana. Currently, cannabis is considered a dangerous drug with no medical benefits. Two bills introduced in the House of Representatives this year would end federal prohibition of marijuana and let the states decide whether it should be legal.
A new Huffington Post/YouGov poll found that 51 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, taxation and regulation like alcohol. In the same poll, a combined 70 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents and 37 percent of Republicans said that they thought marijuana should be legalized either with or without taxes and regulations. The public view of marijuana is changing quickly, and policy should keep up with the times.
Twelve years ago Portugal decriminalized drugs of all kinds and stopped punishing users. Drug users are not treated as criminals, but as sick people to whom help is available. This is a gentle method of enforcement without needless prosecution and jail time. In Holland, people over 18 years old have been permitted to buy and use cannabis (marijuana and hashish) in regulated coffee shops for over 20 years. In both countries, drug use has not dramatically escalated for most age groups, and young adolescents are smoking less pot than in the U.S.
Our country has to move beyond the “war on drugs” to a more sensible approach. That includes leaving the decision on pot to the states. There are two bills currently in the House of Representatives: the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act (H.R. 1523), and Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013 (H.R. 499).
Urge Jim McDermott, member of the Ways and Means Committee, to help move these bills to a vote.
Dear Mr. McDermott,
A recent Huffington Post/YouGov poll is showing for the first time that 51 percent of Americans support legalization of marijuana if it is taxed and regulated like alcohol. The majority of Democrats (70 percent), 59 percent of independents and 37 percent of Republicans said that they thought marijuana should be legalized either with or without taxes and regulations.
Right now, marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, which means that it is considered dangerous and without medical benefits. This view on marijuana is outdated and should be changed. The experiment of drug decriminalization in Portugal and Holland should be thoroughly studied, though some benefits of this policy are already visible. Drug use has not dramatically increased since the inception of policies in both Portugal and Holland, and as for adolescents, there are fewer of them smoking marijuana than in the U.S.
There are two bills currently in the committee of which you are a member: H.R. 1523 and H.R. 499. Both would end federal prohibition of marijuana and leave the decision up to the states. These bills respect states’ rights and move the country forward on this important issue. With the movement to legalize medical and even recreational marijuana, these bills could not have come at a better time.
Please support these pieces of legislation and help them come to a vote in the committee.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: dutchamsterdam.nl’s photostream