Little did we know when we started this project how much of our time would be spent working on it. Keeping up with the news and all of our efforts on social media has been quite the time sink, yet we are confident that things will pay off in the end. Our petition is nearing 1900 supporters and Lobby Day is fast approaching, so we will keep up the fight into 2015 and make sure that Virginia moves forward with decriminalization.
Here are a few of decriminalization support articles that I wanted to share with you today. Each of these articles is well written and brings up great points that need to be brought up when dealing with opposing viewpoints.
In the Richmond Times-Dispatch, guest writer Robert Sharpe of the Common Sense for Drug Policy goes all the way back to the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and talks specifically to the waste of “public safety resources at a time when the General Assembly is grappling with a budget shortfall. ”
Times-Dispatch opinion writer A. Bart Hinkle has an article on the Bristol Herald Courier’s TriCities.com arguing that Virginia should sell off it’s monopoly alcohol sales in the state, and make up for the lost profits by legalizing weed. Hinkle has been proposing a change in the marijuana for years now, arguing about the failure of prohibition in 2011 and advocating for full legalization last year as well. We’ve reached out to Mr. Hinkle to see if he would consider writing more, and will let you know if we see anything else from him.
One of the arguments that keeps getting bandied about by legalization opponents is that legalizing marijuana will lead to a rush of underage drug use. This is just not the case, as Reason’s Jacob Sullum notes that teen pot use has been falling since California enacted medical marijuana laws in 1996.
Mr. Sullum’s article feed is well worth watching for articles dealing with drug laws across the country.
Andrew Jenner gets into the data of Harrisonburg marijuana arrests on the Old South High blog. Jenner shows that misdemeanor possession charges are at a 5 year high, a number that would disappear if SB 686 is made law. This is an interesting bit of analysis that should be used as a template for how decriminalization can be approached at the local level.