Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Monday, July 23, 2018

Prominent US Representative for Ohio now advocating that "marijuana should be legal in all 50 states"

220px-Rep._Tim_Ryan_Congressional_Head_Shot_2010CNN recently published this recent commentary advocating federal marijuana reform that is particularly notable because of its author: Tim Ryan, a Democrat representing Ohio's 13th congressional district who is co-chair of the House Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus (and who at least once had aspirations to be a party leader in the House). Here are excerpts from the commentary:

The year Donald Trump was elected President, more Americans were arrested for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes combined.  Moreover, the ACLU found that even though African-Americans use marijuana at similar rates to white Americans, they are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession....

As co-chair of the House Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus, I've been hesitant to support legalizing marijuana in the past.  But after meeting with countless Ohio families and youth whose lives have been irreparably harmed by a marijuana arrest, I find the social and economic injustices of our marijuana policy too big to ignore.  I firmly believe no person should be sentenced to a lifetime of hardship because of a marijuana arrest. It is morally wrong and economically nonsensical.  That is why I am calling for an end to marijuana being used as an excuse to lock up our fellow Americans.

Marijuana should be legal in all 50 states. Across the country, nine states and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing marijuana.  Voters in Michigan and Oklahoma will be voting on marijuana initiatives this November, and efforts are underway in Missouri, Arizona, Nebraska and Utah to get legalization initiatives on the ballot. While I support these states for leading by example, this is an issue that affects every corner of our nation.  You should not be able to legally buy a product in one state, just to be arrested for the very same act in another.

Studies have shown that marijuana legalization could save $7.7 billion in averted enforcement costs and add $6 billion in additional tax revenue -- a $13.7 billion net savings.  Not to mention the reported 782,000 jobs it could create on day one.  Think of what our country could do with that money: rebuild our highways, bridges, and railroads; provide our communities with the resources they need to respond effectively to substance abuse and the opioid epidemic; and create jobs....

Congress can change this by passing the Marijuana Justice Act.  This legislation would remove marijuana's designation as a Schedule I drug -- those classified as having no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.  It would also eliminate all criminal penalties for an individual who imports, exports, manufacturers, distributes, or processes with intent to distribute marijuana.  To create economic opportunity in communities devastated by mass incarceration, the bill creates a $500 million community reinvestment fund to provide job training for the nascent legal cannabis industry.

The War on Drugs failed the American people. It is time for us to take the necessary steps to right our nation's wrongs.  We cannot afford to leave people behind and money on the table. If we are truly a nation that believes in second chances, our federal marijuana laws must change.  America is speaking. Congress must act.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/marijuana_law/2018/07/prominent-us-representative-for-ohio-now-advocating-that-marijuana-should-be-legal-in-all-50-states.html

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Comments

Marijuana is a gateway drug. I have already been sujected to working with alcohol induced co-workers. Paranoid, mellow-potheads aren't needed

Posted by: Diana Orr | Jul 24, 2018 11:41:11 AM

Diana you make a real good point. The whole country should keep an outdated law so you aren't inconvenienced with your job that tolerates alcohol use.

Posted by: Jim | Jul 24, 2018 12:22:33 PM

I'm so glad Diana Orrhas it all work everything she apparently has ALL answers!!!

Posted by: Diana orr | Jul 24, 2018 9:31:39 PM

I have been convicted of possession of marijuana a couple of times I had a medical marijuana card and a prescription from a doctor and I was jailed and it was so hard to find a job and with losing my license on top of that for 2 years has really put my family in a bind. I just think it was wrong and it should be legal in all states I am now in rehab paying 600 bucks a month for Suboxone and if marijuana was legal I could do without the medication that I am currently on.

Posted by: Stacey | Oct 21, 2018 8:04:58 PM

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