WASHINGTON— In a response to a teleconference this afternoon featuring former drug czars and Drug Enforcement Administration officials calling on the federal government to vigorously oppose attempts to reform marijuana laws, the Marijuana Policy Project stated that marijuana prohibition is a failed policy and urged the Department of Justice to allow states to experiment with alternatives to arresting adult marijuana users.
In November, voters in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon will decide on ballot initiatives that would remove criminal penalties for adult marijuana use. Two of these initiatives, in Colorado and Washington, would replace current marijuana laws with tightly regulated systems similar to those used to control alcohol.
“These former officials are stuck in the mindset that we can arrest our way to decreased marijuana use,” said Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This policy has obviously failed and at great cost. We need to treat marijuana as a public health issue and stop wasting resources arresting adults for using something that is demonstrably safer than alcohol.”
“Unfortunately, people like these former officials, who have made careers out of keeping marijuana illegal, are promoting federal interference against reform efforts,” Fox continued. “Individual states need to be free to experiment with polices that give control of the marijuana market to legitimate businesses instead of criminals and that do not include arrest or incarceration. The federal government should be encouraging states to explore alternatives to ineffective policies rather than expensively and uniformly pursuing continued failure. ”
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More states are reconsidering their marijuana laws as public opinion has continued shifting on this issue. A Rasmussen Report from May of this year showed that 56% of voters support removing criminal penalties for adult marijuana use and instead taxing and regulating the substance in a manner similar to alcohol.
The Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States, is responsible for most state-level marijuana policy reforms enacted since 2000. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.