It is time to end the federal and state prohibitions on cannabis, marijuana, and hemp by legalizing its use for industrial, medicinal, and recreational purposes. Legalizing cannabis benefits our economy, our healthcare, and our planet. In a time when farmers are hard-hit by climate change, hemp and marijuana crops also provide opportunities for farmers and businesses. Utilizing hemp instead of fossil fuels for plastics and other manufacturing products, such as paper and textiles, reduces greenhouse gases.
We must give doctors and patients access to the medicines that work for them. Medicinal marijuana could save money for patients while reducing dependencies on addictive drugs like opioids. Legalization would enable better safety standards and regulations for medicinal marijuana. Furthermore, we need to make sure that medicinal marijuana is covered by all types of insurance and at the VA. I am an advocate for a Medicare For All system which would also require consistent prescription coverage including marijuana, across all states. Right now, a person who legally buys medicinal marijuana in Denver and flies to Illinois, could technically be arrested in the air (federal jurisdiction) even though their medicine is legal in both states. We need a federal law that legalizes Cannabis.
Ending the prohibition has positive economic effects. We are losing tax revenue to an illicit market that could otherwise be used to improve education, fund healthcare, and other important issues. Legalizing recreational marijuana would provide a way to capture that revenue as well as provide the opportunity to establish safety and product integrity standards much like we do with alcohol (which is widely known to carry more deadly risks than marijuana). Opening a legal market creates jobs for farmers, businesses, has export potential, and generates much needed tax revenue. In addition, it gives businesses fair treatment. Perfectly legal cannabis businesses in some states cannot access federal banks and federal tax deductions due to the inconsistent legalization.
This is also about freedom. Adults should have the freedom to choose whether they want to responsibly use marijuana. Instead, we criminalize it and waste public dollars to imprison people for a non-violent issue. That is a waste of taxpayer dollars and police resources. We should expunge the records of those who have been imprisoned for marijuana and decriminalize it so that no one goes to jail for marijuana. We need to simply end the prohibition.