The 2010 mid-term elections are just 5 days away, so there is no better time to share this important message:
No adult should be punished for choosing something safer than alcohol.
We produced this powerful 30-second video to inspire you and everyone you share it with. It’s time to give adults the legal option to use a substance that is safer than alcohol – marijuana! Use this video to inspire your friends, family members, and co-workers to support efforts to tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol.
Aside from the fact that marijuana prohibition is a complete failure – 17 million Americans consume it regularly and surveys show that young people are able to obtain it more easily than alcohol or tobacco -- it also steers people toward our nation’s #1 most preferred recreational drug, alcohol, which happens to be more dangerous. While the danger that a food, drug, or activity pose is not sufficient reason to prohibit it, our laws should not punish people for making the rational choice to use a less harmful substance.
Currently, responsible adults who prefer to relax at the end of the day with marijuana must risk prosecution to do so. Getting arrested for a marijuana-related offense could mean a simple fine, but it could also mean losing your driver’s license, your federal student financial aid, your job, your children or your home. We waste billions of dollars every year on this failed policy that causes far more harm than marijuana itself.
It’s time for this to end.
On September 7, a major new front opened up in the campaign for Proposition 19, the ballot measure to tax and regulate marijuana in California. On that day, the California Beer and Beverage Distributors made a $10,000 contribution to a committee opposing Proposition 19.
In response, MPP issued the following statement by Steve Fox, director of government relations for the MPP and co-author of Marijuana is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink?:
“Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear,” Fox said. “Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition. They know that marijuana is less addictive, less toxic and less likely to be associated with violent behavior than alcohol. So they don’t want adults to have the option of using marijuana legally instead of alcohol. Their mission is to drive people to drink.”
The alcohol industry is now working hand-in-hand with the law enforcement community to keep marijuana illegal. For example, the California Police Chiefs Association has given at least $30,000 to the “No on Proposition 19” campaign, while the California Narcotics Officers’ Association has chipped in $20,500 of its own. This partnership underscores the hypocrisy among law enforcement officials opposed to Prop. 19.
“Members of law enforcement have argued against Proposition 19 by asserting, ‘We have enough problems with alcohol, we don’t need to add another intoxicating substance to the mix,’ implying that marijuana is just as bad as alcohol,” Fox continued. “But the truth is that a legal marijuana market would not add another dangerous intoxicant to the mix; rather it would provide adults with a less harmful legal alternative to alcohol.”
“In their campaign to defeat Proposition 19, members of law enforcement and the alcohol industry have joined together under an umbrella group calling themselves ‘Public Safety First.’ Sadly, by fighting to keep marijuana illegal and steering adults toward alcohol instead, they are putting public safety last,” said Fox.
As we’ve noted previously, not even celebrities are immune to the government’s war on marijuana users.
The latest example is Chace Crawford, a 24-year-old actor from the TV show “Gossip Girl,” who was charged Friday with possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. Crawford and his friend were arrested two weeks ago in Texas while driving in a car—with an unlit marijuana cigarette.
The charge is a misdemeanor, but if convicted, Crawford could face up to six months in prison.
Six months in prison. For a single unlit joint.
I would love to know how many taxpayer dollars will end up being spent to arrest, process, and prosecute Crawford simply for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol. By the way, it’s worth pointing out (as MPP’s Steve Fox and his co-authors did in the book “Marijuana is Safer”) that Crawford’s arrest will almost definitely drive him to use that more dangerous substance—alcohol—since doing so comes with none of the legal consequences or social ridicule that accompany marijuana use.
The disturbing subtext to this is that Crawford’s horrifically disproportionate potential punishment is coming to light only because he is a celebrity. More than 750,000 Americans are arrested every year for marijuana possession—and the vast majority of their stories will never get told.