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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Congressional Candidate Norman Solomon Calls for Adult Legalization of Marijuana

May 10, 2012 -- For Immediate Release

Democratic congressional candidate Norman Solomon is calling for an end to America’s “war on marijuana.”

“Over the past 20 years, arrests for rape, murder and theft in California have decreased by two-thirds -- yet arrests for simple possession of marijuana have doubled,” Solomon said. “More than 50,000 Californians are arrested each year for using marijuana. This ‘war on marijuana’ spiraled out of control long ago.”

Solomon believes that proponents of the war on marijuana are heavy on tough talk, but light on the facts. “Despite accounting for less than 5 percent of the world population, our country holds almost 25 percent of its prisoners,” he said. “How can we explain that number? To a large extent, it’s the drug offenders filling our prisons.”

According to Solomon, the first step to ending the drug war is to legalize and regulate adult consumption of marijuana. “We don’t need to look to Amsterdam or other countries when we have success stories right here at home in California,” he said.

Solomon compares criminalization of marijuana to our nation’s failed experiment with alcohol prohibition. “The overturning of alcohol prohibition was a perfect, if rare, example of our elected officials realizing that the criminal justice system can’t solve every problem. Looking at the trends among recent polls, millions more Americans recognize what a similar disaster marijuana prohibition has been for this country.”

He added: “As a member of Congress, I promise to fight for legislation to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I narcotics. By doing so, states like California can continue to innovate and craft responsible laws, and its citizens can rely on those laws, free from the fear of counterproductive raids and arrests by federal authorities."

Solomon has summarized his position on marijuana this way:

  • I support legalization of marijuana use for adults. The federal government should remove marijuana from Schedule I, a classification intended for only the most dangerous drugs.
  • State and local governments should have the authority to regulate and tax marijuana. I will fight to stop federal threats against jurisdictions that implement innovative and reasonable permitting policies.
  • I will defend the right of patients to safely access cannabis for medical needs. Limited federal funds should not be used to raid legitimate collectives and cooperatives.
  • Just as with alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of marijuana has created a black market rife with organized crime and other harmful consequences. The cultivation of marijuana on state and federal lands and in dangerous, poorly-wired “grow houses” is unacceptable. In addition to legalization, I support targeted enforcement for public safety and environmental protection.
  • I support the legalization of industrial hemp to create new businesses and jobs in industries ranging from paper and textiles to fashion and food.

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