For Immediate Release 3/16/16
Official Press Release
By Samuel Ronan
It is interesting to note that for the past century we have been growing as a nation, economically, socially, and as a growing presence in the world theater yet we have been hamstringing ourselves needlessly the entire time. I’m talking of course about making Hemp and Cannabis illegal for the entire nation after 2 centuries of it being the unrivaled #1 cash crop in America. Hemp was grown by almost all of our founding fathers and has been a staple in the economy of our great nation up until WWII when it inexplicably got placed on the controlled substance list! Since then we have continued to grow and prosper, yet it feels as though we could have been so much further ahead had we never lost our staple!
This is precisely why I stand for the legalization of cannabis and the decriminalization of marijuana up to and including pardons, nullification of records and rehabilitating citizens unlawfully incarcerated via state sponsored case workers to bring incarcerated members back into the work force or enrolled in school, whichever the member prefers. Not only does it all but empty our prisons it ensures that persons who have committed “victimless” crimes are no longer being adversely affected with a criminal record, being taken out of the work force, ruining families, and ruining their future. Unfortunately with the rise of private prisons, and the often biased courts and law enforcement typically offer much harsher punishments for “drug” related offenses then they otherwise would.
The other reality of cannabis is that it is a much less harmful drug than alcohol or nicotine combined. Drug testing for THC in athletics and for employment is akin to testing for nicotine and alcohol other than during hours of employment or during the operation of a motor vehicle. What’s more the propaganda against cannabis is false, politically driven and serves to only increase the numbers of wrongly incarcerated persons in our penal systems. Again I want to drive home the point that prisons aren’t just full of kids that had a dime bag on them at a traffic stop, there are murders, rapists, thieves, and worse in these penitentiaries that are negatively impacting otherwise innocent law abiding citizens. Our penal code doesn’t encourage rehabilitation which only adds to the failure of not addressing this issue sooner than later!
Without diving into the weeds on how much potential revenue could be generated from the hemp and marijuana industries it is still a vast improvement to our society to decriminalize. To speak bluntly a person in prison is not earning a degree (typically), is not working a job which means they are not paying taxes, purchasing goods, owning a vehicle, or a home, and they are not around their friends and family which tears homes and communities apart. To be quite frank it serves no positive purpose to criminalize a plant that our own social experiments in DC, Colorado, and Washington State have proven to be vastly more effective than the go to form of penalization for the past 50 years.
In many ways decriminalizing cannabis, encouraging the hemp industry to grow in all of its many possibilities, will spur our economy generate thousands if not millions of jobs in many different industries and relegate our prisons to the real criminals who deserve to be behind bars! Essentially legalization of marijuana is also prison reform, judicial reform, and will improve the job market in the process! To me legalization is a common sense solution to a problem that should never have existed in the first place!
Samuel Ronan for State Representative District 62
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