By Erik Altieri, Alexandria
To the editor:
There are many candidates vying to take the torch from U.S. Rep. Jim Moran in the 8th Congressional District. Of these, I believe only one will show the true leadership needed to carry on Moran’s legacy of opposition to the federal government’s war against marijuana consumers. That candidate is state Sen. Adam Ebbin.
This is an issue of particular importance in the 8th Congressional District. In Arlington, blacks are only an estimated 8.2 percent of the population, but constitute about 50 percent of all marijuana arrests in the county. This is despite the fact that they use marijuana at similar rates as their white counterparts.
Statewide, enforcement of our overly punitive marijuana laws comes with an annual cost of more than $67 million to taxpayers. The price of enforcement in Alexandria and Arlington alone is several million dollars a year.
It is time for an approach to marijuana that respects individual civil liberties, creates a new tax and job-generating industry, and accepts the reality that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol — and should be regulated as such. Ebbin would bring with him the necessary knowledge, leadership skills and tenacity needed to continue rolling back our failed federal war on marijuana and help move the country towards a new, common sense policy.