It’s High Time We Legalize Marijuana
WASHINGTON — In the past several years, the movement to legalize marijuana has made significant gains across the country, with recreational use now legal in 18 states and medical use legal in 37. Today is an important opportunity to reflect on these legislative successes in marijuana legalization and consider the next steps we need to take to fully decriminalize cannabis.
Common Defense Political Director Naveed Shah released the following statement:
“While we safely celebrate the progress that has been made on the legalization of marijuana at the state level, it’s important that we highlight the challenges that many marijuana users encounter. Even in the 37 states which allow medical use, the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to deny cannabis recommendations to veterans. Veterans who suffer from PTSD, depression, chronic pain, or a number of other service-connected disabilities are currently unable to access this budding alternative medicine through the VA, despite decades of evidence that cannabis can be an effective treatment for such symptoms.
It’s high time that marijuana was decriminalized, legalized, and all the people unjustly penalized for nonviolent offenses are given a path to redemption.
That’s exactly what the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act does, and in a kumbaya moment it passed the House with a joint bipartisan majority vote earlier this month. To be blunt, the MORE Act decriminalizes marijuana at the federal level, establishes procedures for expunging previous convictions from people’s records, and imposes a tax on the sale of cannabis products. That’s dope.
Not to get too far into the weeds, but some of the revenue raised through the new cannabis tax in the MORE Act would provide small business loans to help entrepreneurs shake and bake their way into the cannabis industry, especially those who are “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.” The MORE Act would fund job training, mentorship programs, substance-use treatment, legal aid, re-entry services and youth recreation programs. That’s the type of reform we need when we say “liberty and justice for all.”
“We, the veterans of Common Defense, call on the Senate to end the reefer madness and bring the MORE Act up for a vote, to finally legalize marijuana across the United States and stop the unnecessary criminalization of another generation.”