I, personally believe that ALL drugs must be decriminalized. Portugal decriminalized ALL drugs. If it is working in Portugal, it can also work in the United States of America.
The Drug Policy Alliance says, “THE WAR ON DRUGS IS HARMING MILLIONS OF US. LET’S WORK TOGETHER TO END IT.
It’s time for a new approach grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.”
“Tulsi Gabbard has been fighting to decriminalize marijuana and end the opioid epidemic throughout her years in Congress. She is on the House Cannabis Caucus and has been endorsed by NORML. She has introduced two bipartisan marijuana bills along with Rep. Don Young (R-AK), NORML, and other supporters.
The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019 would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances list and allow states the freedom to regulate marijuana as they choose, without federal interference.
The Marijuana Data Collection Act of 2019 would study the effects of state legalized medicinal and non-medicinal marijuana programs from a variety of perspectives, including state revenues, public health, substance abuse, and opioids, criminal justice, and employment.”_Tulsi Gabbard
On the first day of his 2020 presidential campaign in New York City, on Saturday, March 2, 2019, the United States of America Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said, “Today, we say to the prison-industrial-complex that we are going to achieve real criminal justice reform in this country. We are going to end the international embarrassment of the United States having more people in jail than any other country on earth. Instead of spending $80 billion a year in jails and incarceration, we are going to invest in jobs and education for our young people. No more private prisons. No more profiteering from locking people up. No more “war on drugs” that has destroyed so many lives. No more keeping people in jail because they’re too poor to afford cash bail.
And by the way, when we talk about criminal justice reform, we’re going to change a system in which tens of thousands of Americans every year get criminal records for possessing marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive went to jail for destroying our economy in 2008. No. They didn’t go to jail. They got a trillion-dollar bailout.”
DPA Partner Susan Burton, founder and executive director of A New Way of Life Reentry Project visited Portugal and shared her personal perspective on the urgent need for drug decriminalization in an op-ed. She says, “Last year I visited Portugal as part of a delegation of advocates led by the Drug Policy Alliance. In 2001, that country introduced a comprehensive program in response to its own overdose crisis that decriminalized small amounts of drugs for personal use. Since then, overdose deaths, HIV infections, problematic drug use, and incarceration for drug-related offenses have dropped to among the lowest rates in Europe, while the number of people voluntarily entering treatment has dramatically increased.
As I met with public health officials, visited treatment facilities, and heard from law enforcement agents, as well as current and former drug users, what struck me most was the humanity of this approach. The focus is on supporting people and their health instead of demonizing the illness and punishing the related behavior.
Our approach in the U.S. not only seems barbaric in contrast, but it is clearly not working. We need put an end to the mass arrests, harsh sentencing, and restricted access to affordable treatment and health care, and start focusing on what matters: helping people.”
“420, 4:20, or 4/20 (pronounced four-twenty) is slang in cannabis culture for the consumption of cannabis, especially smoking cannabis around the time 4:20 p.m. (or 16:20 in 24-hour notation) and also refers to cannabis-oriented celebrations that take place on annually on April 20 (which is 4/20 in U.S. form).
In 1971, five high school students – Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich – in San Rafael, California, calling themselves the Waldos because “their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school”, used the term in connection with a 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about, based on a treasure map made by the grower. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 p.m. as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase “4:20 Louis”. After several failed attempts to find the crop, the group eventually shortened their phrase to simply “4:20”, which ultimately evolved into a code-word that the teens used to mean consuming cannabis.
April 20 has become an international counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Many such events have a political nature to them, advocating the liberalization / legalization of cannabis. Vivian McPeak, a founder of Seattle’s Hempfest states that 4/20 is “half celebration and half call to action”. Paul Birch calls it a global movement and suggests that one can’t stop events like these.
As marijuana continues to be decriminalized and legalized around the world, Steve DeAngelo, cannabis activist and founder of California’s Harborside Health Center, notes that “even if our activist work were complete, 420 morphs from a statement of conscience to a celebration of acceptance, a celebration of victory, a celebration of our amazing connection with this plant” and that he thinks that “it will always be worthy of celebration”.”_Wikipedia.org
Former President Jose Mujica signed legislation to legalize recreational cannabis in December 2013, making Uruguay the first country in the world to legalize cannabis. Canada became the second country to legalize Cannabis in 2018. Olga Sánchez Cordero, interior minister in Mexico’s new leftist government, submitted a Bill to Congress in 2018 to end prohibition and start regulation. Mexico could be the third country in the world to make marijuana cultivation and consumption legal.
As of April 10, 2019, recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states in the United States of America and medical marijuana is legal in 33 states. Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level.
On March 29, 2019, Governor Cuomo confirmed that marijuana legalization will not be included in the state budget, which must be passed by April 1. This means that for Governor Cuomo to follow through on his promises to legalize marijuana, it must instead get passed into law via stand-alone legislation in the coming months.
Statement from Kassandra Frederique, Drug Policy Alliance’s New York State Director: “We believe that New Yorkers deserve more than unmet promises and empty rhetoric around marijuana reform. Each day marijuana legalization is not passed, someone is arrested, deported, evicted or loses custody of a child because of criminalization. Each day that New York’s leaders maintain prohibition, someone can’t pass a background check, has their parole revoked, or loses a job.
It is past time for the NY legislature to pass the Marijuana Regulation Taxation Act. It is also time for Governor Cuomo to keep his commitment to marijuana reform, and the justice that he has promised. The clock for passing marijuana justice starts now.”
The New York City Council approved resolutions in support of DPA’s model for equitable marijuana legalization rooted in economic and racial justice.
UPDATED on 4/13/2019 to add Tulsi Gabbard on Marijuana Legalization.
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