Marijuana legalization is an international movement and Portland, Maine is just one front in the green revolution. In order to build on our momentum, we will need to bring our collective voices to our state and federal governments. Over half of Americans now support marijuana legalization according to recent polls. The Obama Administration has provided clarifying language about marijuana enforcement priorities. Now is the time to sign the petition supporting legalization of marijuana!
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Dear Elected Official,
Reforms to our marijuana laws are greatly needed. A simple marijuana possession charge is considered to be a federal drug offense and will show up on criminal background checks and is grounds for denial of federal benefits. Although marijuana is less harmful than legal drugs like alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals, marijuana possession charges can lead to a lifetime of struggles for otherwise law abiding adults.
The United States jails more citizens than any other country, largely due to the war on marijuana. We cannot afford the costs to adjudicate and imprison Americans for using Marijuana.
The enforcement of marijuana laws is unfair. A disproportionate number of Americans convicted for marijuana related charges are black even though they use marijuana at nearly the same rate as their white counterparts.
Our police officers have more important work to do than enforce marijuana laws. The US has spent over $1 Trillion on the War on Drugs since the Controlled Substance Act was passed in 1970. Meanwhile, murders, rapes, and property crimes go unsolved. We need to reallocate police resources to focus on more serious crimes.
Marijuana has many medical benefits. From epilepsy to glaucoma to cancer, and HIV, marijuana is proven to provide relief to patients. Unfortunately, the federal government does not recognize the medical benefits of marijuana because it is a Schedule 1 drug so it is out of line with federal law for doctors to recommend using marijuana and to conduct research.
Attempts to reschedule marijuana have been thwarted by the Drug Enforcement Agency. After years of research, the Federal Law Judge Francis Young declared marijuana to be, “one of the safest, active, therapeutic substances known to man.” That was in 1988 and the DEA refused to allow marijuana to be rescheduled to recognize the medical uses of marijuana.
The DEA has a vested interest in ensuring that marijuana remains illegal. The DEA is awarded tons of money every year to lead the fight in the War on Drugs and marijuana comprises the vast majority of the drugs seized by the DEA. The refusal of the federal government to reschedule marijuana due to the illogical position of the DEA is the reason why marijuana legalization is our only option for making marijuana accessible to patients.