Prohibition is a failed policy. Prohibition did not work with alcohol. Prohibition does not work with marijuana. Prohibition began in Portland, Maine in the 1850’s with the movement lead by Mayor Neal Dow. The Neal Dow Mansion still sits on Congress Street near bars, restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores that all sell alcohol. Nearby is one of the eight medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine.
The prohibition of alcohol lead to organized crime, increased violence, and a lack of public support. The prohibition of marijuana has also lead to organized crime, increased violence, and a lack of public support. In fact, a majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana according to recent polls!
The failure of prohibition is why the Portland Green Independent Committee has brought forth a referendum question to the voters of for the legalization of marijuana in Portland, Maine. Portland Greens like Tom MacMillan, Councilor David Marshall, and Adam Marletta crafted ordinance language to present to the Portland City Clerk to begin the petition process in March 2013. The Portland Greens collected over 2,500 valid signatures, 1,000 signatures above the requirement to put the question on the November 2013 ballot.
Reforms to our marijuana laws are greatly needed. A simple marijuana possession charge is considered to be a federal drug offense and will show up on criminal background checks and is grounds for denial of federal benefits. Although marijuana is less harmful than legal drugs like alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals, marijuana possession charges can lead to a lifetime of struggles for otherwise law abiding adults.
The United States jails more citizens than any other country, largely due to the war on marijuana. We cannot afford the costs to adjudicate and imprison Americans for using Marijuana.
The enforcement of marijuana laws is unfair. A disproportionate number of Americans convicted for marijuana related charges are black even though they use marijuana at nearly the same rate as their white counterparts.
Our police officers have more important work to do than enforce marijuana laws. The US has spent over $1 Trillion on the War on Drugs since the Controlled Substance Act was passed in 1970. Meanwhile, murders, rapes, and property crimes go unsolved. We need to reallocate police resources to focus on more serious crimes.
Marijuana has many medical benefits. From epilepsy to glaucoma to cancer, and HIV, marijuana is proven to provide relief to patients. Unfortunately, the federal government does not recognize the medical benefits of marijuana because it is a Schedule 1 drug so it is out of line with federal law for doctors to recommend using marijuana and to conduct research.
Attempts to reschedule marijuana have been thwarted by the Drug Enforcement Agency. After years of research, the Federal Law Judge Francis Young declared marijuana to be, “one of the safest, active, therapeutic substances known to man.” That was in 1988 and the DEA refused to allow marijuana to be rescheduled to recognize the medical uses of marijuana.
The DEA has a vested interest in ensuring that marijuana remains illegal. The DEA is awarded tons of money every year to lead the fight in the War on Drugs and marijuana comprises the vast majority of the drugs seized by the DEA. The refusal of the federal government to reschedule marijuana due to the illogical position of the DEA is the reason why marijuana legalization is our only option for making marijuana accessible to patients.
Now is the time to join the green revolution and end the War on Marijuana! Sign the petition, volunteer, and donate to our campaign to legalize marijuana!