By Reynold N. Mason JD
At long last, the burning issue of marijuana has been placed on the front burner of American politics. The two brave lawmakers stirring the political pot are Representatives Ron Paul and Barney Frank. They have introduced HR 2306, a bill aimed at decriminalizing the distribution and sale of marijuana. No doubt the task of garnering the votes required to pass this bill is gargantuan, and at this juncture, nearly impossible. But it is a commonsense new approach to an old problem now approaching crisis proportions.
Growing opposition to punitive marijuana policies
Increasing numbers of people––physicians, lawyers, judges, police, journalists, scientists, public health officials, teachers, religious leaders, social workers, drug users and drug addicts––now openly criticize the more extreme, punitive, and criminalized forms of drug prohibition. These critics, from across the political spectrum, have pointed out that punitive drug policies are expensive, ineffective at reducing drug abuse, take scarce resources away from other public health and policing activities, and are often racially and ethnically discriminatory.
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