Washington, DC: Today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security held a hearing entitled “Cannabis Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform.”
You can watch the hearing HERE.
NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:
“Today was a historic day in the fight to end federal cannabis criminalization. Members of both political parties demonstrated a desire to reform our nations failed policy of prohibition and the only disagreement was HOW, not IF.”
“Clearly, the Schedule 1 status of cannabis is intellectually dishonest and has been scientifically debunked. The prospect of maintaining cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act is sheer lunacy in the 21st century.”
NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri stated:
“After nearly a century of prohibition, it is clear this policy has been an absolute failure and a national disgrace. All we have to show for the war we have waged on cannabis is the egregious harms it has wrought upon tens-of-millions of our fellow citizens. Congress must act swiftly and begin to remedy the pain caused by the criminalization of cannabis. The only real federal solution to this problem is the full descheduling of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. This would allow us to stop ceding control of the cannabis market to the illicit market and allow state governments the opportunity to pursue alternative regulatory policies, free from the threat of federal intervention or prosecution. The American public is overwhelmingly ready to legalize cannabis, their elected officials in Washington need to finally start representing the will of the people.”
According to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, police made 659,700 arrests for cannabis-related violations in 2017. That total is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrests for the commission of violent crimes (518,617) in 2017. Of those arrested for cannabis crimes, just under 91 percent (599,000) were arrested for cannabis possession offenses, a slight increase over the previous year’s annual totals. Total cannabis arrests in 2017 increased for the second straight year, after having fallen for nearly a decade.
Thirty-three states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 86 million Americans now reside in the eleven states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional thirteen states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes.
Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of cannabis,” according to 2018 national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.
Majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) back legalization. The results of a 2018 nationwide Gallup poll similarly found majority support among all three groups.
To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.
Specifically, a 2019 report estimates that over 211,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.
NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of cannabis by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high-quality cannabis that is safe, convenient, and affordable.
For Immediate Release
NORML Political Director