By Paul Armentano
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is no stranger to marijuana law reform. Johnson was the keynote speaker at last year’s national NORML Conference (listen to his remarks here) and the topic of cannabis legalization is a prominent plank in his Presidential exploratory campaign.
Today he takes to the Net in response to the President’s artful dodge last week regarding the need to federal drug law reform. And he doesn’t mince words.
Yes, It Is Time For Pot Legalization, Mr. President
via Huffington Post
The Web is humming with stories and discussion from the aftermath of President Obama’s response to questions about drug legalization during last Thursday’s YouTube forum. While his words this time around are a bit more encouraging than previous signals from the administration, I would strongly suggest that we all, including the president, cut through the platitudes and get to the truth about marijuana prohibition.
If, as the president suggests, it is time for a “serious debate” about legalization, let’s get to it, starting with a few questions that beg for truth:
Why, with record federal deficits and states teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, are we spending billions on yet another failed Prohibition that is accomplishing nothing other than making criminals out of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens and fueling drug cartels that threaten our fundamental national security? Is it not time to try something different?
Despite lip-service, about the need for treatment, harm-reduction and other strategies to address drug use as a health issue, why do the federal government’s actual policies and budget still treat the situation as almost entirely a law enforcement problem? Let’s end the unworkable marijuana prohibition and put our money where our mouth is. Let’s solve the problems like border crime. We can do it with pot legalization.
We need to deal with some simple truths. How do we reconcile the fact, that in a supposedly free society, it is legal for a responsible adult to purchase and consume alcohol, while purchasing and consuming marijuana is a crime? I, along with millions of other Americans, are still waiting for a credible answer to that one.
You can read the full text of Mr. Johnson’s remarks here.