Jonathan D. California

National Cannabis Reforms

Current drug policy is taking a toll on our country as a whole but by taking steps towards the legalization of cannabis we can alleviate issues such as overcrowded prisons.

Dear Next President,

Being ushered into office burdens you with a newly founded responsibility to express the needs and demands of your country's populace in order to ensure our development rather than cease it which is why I must address our nation's stance on cannabis. It has been around half a century since President Nixon declared a war on drugs and ever since then we have been in an endless state of internal conflict. I believe that you can utilize your position to overcome this issue by taking strides towards the legalization of cannabis by reclassifying it’s current ruling as a “schedule I” substance.

As a “schedule I” drug, cannabis cannot be used nationally for any purpose whatsoever unless state laws permit it; rescheduling the substance on the other hand could allow for it to be more closely examined, grant all states to utilize the substance for medical purposes, and move us closer to its complete legalization. Documents released by the State Department of Revenue showed that in the first year marijuana was legalized in the state of Washington they earned nearly $83 millions in marijuana taxes alone, which demonstrates just how profitable these changes can be. This projected multi-billion dollar industry would greatly aid our country's economy by creating much needed jobs and profit off its various sectors such as cultivation, recreational smoking accessories, hemp products, and much more. Not only can it bring economic stability, but by pushing for the decriminalization of cannabis we can ease the threat overcrowded prisons pose on us as a nation.

The United States struggles with overcrowded prisons and at around 2.4 million people in them we have the highest incarcerated population in the world. Though those issues won't be resolved for quite sometime it is believed that by decriminalizing marijuana we can alleviate the strain put on our correctional institutions as polls conducted by the U.S Department of Justice display that just over 12% of the prison population are incarcerated for violating marijuana policy. After voters in Washington approved I-502, the bill that legalized marijuana, the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts observed that marijuana offenses by adults dropped by 98%. When studies yield statistics such as these it seems reasonable to assume that similar trends would be expected to occur nationwide if laws were put in place to decriminalize cannabis just like in Washington and Colorado, yet skepticism still surrounds certain aspects of its negative effects on society.

Currently in the United States 2 issues that challenge the legalization of cannabis are speculation that with its legality comes the increase of high driving related accidents and an increase in substance use by youth, both which are already large scale issues with legal alcohol. Once again 2 separate studies initiated by the U.S Department of transportation and the Washington State of Healthy Youth concluded that in the 1 year marijuana was legal these behaviors seemed to remain ¨stable¨ and unchanged. Every movement towards legislation has its drawbacks but taking steps towards the legalization of cannabis seems to be a topic where the positive aspects vastly outweigh the negatives, so why should marijuana remain in the same category as heroin defined as a ¨schedule I¨ drug instead of being accepted like similar substances such as tobacco and alcohol? It's time for reformations to occur and you of all people have the power to take us one step closer to legalizing cannabis for the benefit of our nation. I appreciate your time

Sincerely, Jonathan De Haro

New Technology High School

American Studies

New Tech High's Junior class. This is a team taught US History and Literature class.

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