Your Views: Time to decriminalize cannabis

Your Views: Time to decriminalize cannabis

To the editor:

I applaud Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark R. Herring, State Sen. Adam Ebbin, State Delegate Mark Levine and many in the Virginia legislature for recent efforts in working toward cannabis decriminalization.

The prohibition of alcohol became the law of the land in 1920. In 1933, U.S. legislators decided it was for the common good that alcohol manufacture, distribution and consumption be made legal, within bounds, despite alcohol’s poisonous, debilitating and addictive qualities. Over the previous
years, making alcohol illegal had caused an expansion of organized crime, increased illness from unregulated manufacture and caused economic losses, including lost tax revenue.

In 1933, the public found that society as a whole was harmed by making illegal a product that a significant portion of the population felt contributed to their happiness, felt was their right to use and would consume whether it was illegal or not. With this in mind, in 1933, the prohibition of alcohol was ended.

Over the last decades, cannabis has also shown itself to be a product that a significant portion of the public will consume whether it is illegal or not. Cannabis is less debilitating than alcohol, less unhealthy than alcohol and is associated with far fewer traffic accidents in the states where it is legal than alcohol.

The majority, 68% according to a Gallup poll, believes that ending the cannabis prohibition will be for the common good. They believe that ending cannabis prohibition will likewise result in a reduction in organized crime, reduce illness from unregulated manufacture and create economic gains, including from tax revenue.

Moreover, ending cannabis prohibition will reduce the burden on law enforcement, reduce tax-consuming incarceration expenses, reduce the suffering and loss of manpower due to associated incarceration and end an unnecessary intrusion into many of our citizens’ peaceful pursuit of happiness.

For those of us who are not interested in consuming cannabis, it is still reasonable to support a reform that will bring little to no harm and will likely be an overall benefit
to society.

-Robert Ray IV,  Alexandria