According to a recent Gallup poll 58% of Americans surveyed now support the legalization of marijuana, up from a low of 12% at the dawn of the “War on Drugs”. The support for marijuana legalization has seen unprecedented momentum in the past several years. Gallup observes, “Whatever the reasons for Americans’ greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States. Advocates of legalizing marijuana say taxing and regulating the drug could be financially beneficial to states and municipalities nationwide.”
“Americans have rejected the utter failure of cannabis prohibition” said Pittsburgh NORML Executive Director Patrick K. Nightingale. “Our cowardly political leaders such as Gov. Corbett and AG Kane continue to double down on junk science such as the “gateway drug” myth to justify wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate cannabis consumers. They disingenuously claim that children will become addicted to heroin if there is any easing in marijuana prohibition in the Commonwealth despite hard evidence to the contrary. The absurdity of this claim would be laughable were it not so dangerous and damaging to our citizens, especially our citizens of color who are far more likely to be prosecuted for cannabis possession in Pennsylvania.”
The tide has irrevocable turned in favor of cannabis reform both in the United States and abroad. At present twenty states have medicinal marijuana programs, fifteen have decriminalized possession of small amounts, and Washington and Colorado have fully legalized possession, manufacturing and distribution of marijuana and marijuana infused products. The District of Columbia has a medicinal program and has just decriminalized possession. Uruguay became the first country to fully legalize marijuana, announcing plans to sell it for $1 per gram in an effort to decimate the illegal black market. Portugal and The Netherlands have decriminalized marijuana and boast far lower rates of teen marijuana use.
“We believe that reform is no longer a question of if, but rather a question of when. We challenge Gov. Corbett, Attorney General Kane, and all prohibitionists to stop relying on fear mongering and scare tactics and to have an open and honest discussion about the efficacy of marijuana as a medicine. We challenge them to justify spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer money to arrest, prosecute and incarcerate cannabis offenders. The time for reform is now” Nightingale said.
Pittsburgh NORML is a local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the nation’s oldest reform advocacy organization. Pittsburgh NORML supports all cannabis reform efforts with an ultimate goal of ending marijuana prohibition in its entirety and promoting responsible adult use.
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contact Patrick K. Nightingale at 412.225.7959