Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak has recently taken to Minnesota’s airwaves in a misguided attempt to blame violence at the hands of criminal gangs on consumers of marijuana. “When you pay for marijuana, you are paying for the bullet that goes into the head of someone on the streets,” he told the Star Tribune, in one instance.
Today, MPP called upon Mayor Rybak to get honest about what actually fuels violence in the marijuana trade: prohibition. Here’s the statement by MPP’s Steve Fox:
“Like alcohol prohibition in the last century, marijuana prohibition has helped to fuel violent crime in Minnesota and across the country. Mayor Rybak is out of touch with reality if he does not recognize that prohibition—and any elected official who supports it—is to blame for giving criminals a virtual monopoly on marijuana’s lucrative trade. It is unrealistic to assume we can somehow magically remove the demand for marijuana. The only true solution is to regulate marijuana, and bring its sale under the rule of law, the same way we ended the criminal violence that stemmed from alcohol prohibition.
“If the mayor wants to end violence associated with marijuana, he too needs to be honest, and join the growing ranks of those calling for an end to prohibition and the failed policies that drive money into the hands of criminals, and yes, bullets into people’s heads.”
Well, as it turns out, the first call I got back about our release was from Mayor Rybak himself. He was not too pleased, to say the least. To his credit, the mayor seemed more nuanced and open-minded about the issue than some of the Minnesota headline writers have made him out to be. He reiterated that this is a complicated subject, but that he is open to a debate on solutions. “I’m telling people that we need to talk about this,” he told me.
If you’re in the Minneapolis area and want to tell Mayor Rybak what you think about this, he responds regularly to comments made on his Facebook page.