Why is nobody running on this platform? It seems to me that these two measures would just about solve all our domestic problems: legalize pot and reform our prisons.
Part A: Legalize Marijuana
This is a win-win for everybody. Isn’t it time to give up on this prohibition? It’s just stupid and shortsighted. The only people who want it illegal are old, white folks like Jeff Sessions, who think it’s evil as the puff on a Marlboro, and the pharmaceutical companies that think it will cut into antidepression sales, which it will.
Not to mention:
- Pot is a tad lucrative, which is why people are willing to go to prison for it (see Part B.) No more teachers’ strikes, better veteran care, prop up our failing infrastructure, and can we even… dream of… universal healthcare?
Look at these Colorado Department of Revenue sales from medical and retail marijuana stores.
Marijuana Sales Reports
Calendar Year Total Marijuana Sales Total to Date 2014 $683,523,739 $683,523,739 2015 $995,591,255 $1,679,114,994 2016 $1,307,203,473 $2,986,318,467 2017 $1,507,702,219 $4,494,020,686 2018 (Jan) $117,993,222 $4,612,013,908
Over a billion dollars a year. That’s a lot of bud.
- Pot has medicinal properties which alone should be enough to delist it, but some folks, let’s just call them Republicans, would rather deprive a natural remedy to a veteran with PTSD or a kid with cancer.
- Pot is loved by the people who have no intention of quitting.
Part B: Prison Reform
Part A plays a primary role in the success of Part B. Get the disproportionately black, nonviolent, offenders out of jail. Provide them with job opportunities in a ‘budding’ new industry so they can support their families and get off welfare. Overcrowded jails could be a thing of the past.
Now I don’t know much, but I know this kind of corruption and misuse of power is unacceptable. A New York Times article addresses the harm of fine and fees when it investigated Ferguson, Missouri, three years ago after the killing of the teenager Michael Brown by a police officer.
Ferguson used its criminal justice system as a for-profit enterprise, extracting millions from its poorest citizens. Internal emails revealed the head of finance directing policing strategy to maximize revenue rather than ensure public safety. Officers told us they were pressured to issue as many tickets as possible.
Even the local judge was in on it, imposing penalties of $302 for jaywalking and $531 for allowing weeds to grow in one’s yard. He issued arrest warrants for residents who fell behind on payments — including a 67-year-old woman who had been fined for a trash-removal violation.
At the time of our investigation, over 16,000 people had outstanding arrest warrants from Ferguson, a city of 21,000.
People are arrested, can’t afford representation, fines, or bail, the court systems are powerfully overwhelmed and understaffed so court dates are months in advance, people lose their jobs, can’t pay fines, lose their driver’s license, get more fines, go back to jail, and on and on. It’s a downward spiral with no hope of daylight for the offender AND their family. This shouldn’t be America.
Prison reform under Trump has taken a positive step, but then, he hasn’t had his tiny hands on it. According to a February 16, 2018, Rolling Stone Magazine article:
Criminal justice reform is now moving through Capitol Hill again. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bipartisan bill that relaxes mandatory minimum sentences for some nonviolent drug crimes on a 16-5 vote. While that effort still faces hurdles – namely opposition from Sessions himself – it’s a significant step forward.
It’s an itty-bitty step.
It’s an easy plan, right? Who’s with me?