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Chief Lanier's comment on Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

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  • Press, MPD (MPD)
    Today, proposed legislation to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was introduced in Council. This is a significant issue that merits
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 10 10:59 AM
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      Today, proposed legislation to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was introduced in Council. This is a significant issue that merits robust discussion on a broad spectrum of issues, including concerns about the risk to children with increased access, the health impact of increasingly potent plants, and conflict with federal laws. In the meantime, it is important for the community to recognize that some of the information being used as an argument for decriminalization is flawed. As I believe our community members know, MPD has not prioritized marijuana arrests. Since day one, my priority has been combatting violent crime, and the District is safer as a result. Marijuana users are simply not being targeted in the manner suggested by a recent report from the ACLU and by many advocates for decriminalization.  To learn more about the flaws in the ACLU report, please read my letter to the editor that was recently published in The Washington Post:

       

      With the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program, Kids and Teens Eat For Free at schools, parks, and community organizations all summer long!
      Call 311, text 202-656-5EAT, or visit www.onecityyouth.dc.gov to find a site near you.

       


    • teabelly
      Thank-you Chief Lanier, I agree that robust discussion is needed. To that end, I m sharing a bit of the social science behind the ACLU s support of marijuana
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 10 11:08 AM
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        Thank-you Chief Lanier,

        I agree that robust discussion is needed.  To that end, I'm sharing a bit of the social science behind the ACLU's support of marijuana law reform.  May our dialogue lead to a safe, happier, more productive community.  From http://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/marijuana-law-reform

        "Eliminating penalties for low-level marijuana possession will prevent tens of thousands of people from becoming enmeshed in the criminal justice system in the first instance. Moreover, decriminalization will have the added effect of keeping people out of jail for probation and parole violations, and will eliminate the many collateral consequences that flow from marijuana arrests, thereby reducing the gross number of people entering or otherwise harmed by the criminal justice system.

        Drug prohibition has largely driven America’s incarceration rate to unacceptable levels. Drug offenders comprise over 500,000 of the more than 2 million people in our nation’s prisons and jails, and drug offenses and failed drug tests account for a significant number of those returning to prison for parole and probation violations. Most of those incarcerated for marijuana offenses do not belong in prison, as they represent little or no risk to public safety. Removing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses will therefore reduce the U.S. prison population and more effectively protect the public and promote public health.

        Marijuana Law Reform: Latest News and Updates>>

        Special Features

        The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests (2013 feature): The aggressive enforcement of marijuana possession laws needlessly ensnares hundreds of thousands of people into the criminal justice system and wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars. What’s more, it is carried out with staggering racial bias. Despite being a priority for police departments nationwide, the War on Marijuana has failed to reduce marijuana use and availability and diverted resources that could be better invested in our communities.

        Resources

        The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests (2013 report): The aggressive enforcement of marijuana possession laws needlessly ensnares hundreds of thousands of people into the criminal justice system and wastes billions of taxpayers’ dollars. What’s more, it is carried out with staggering racial bias.

        Medical Marijuana (2011 resource): Contemporary scientific evidence confirms the countless stories of the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana, which has provided unique relief for serious conditions, including cancer and AIDS, when no other medicine is as effective or free of side effects such as nausea or loss of appetite. Nearly one million patients nationwide now use medical marijuana as recommended by their doctors and in accordance with state laws.

        Multimedia

        Just Say No to the War on Drugs (2011 video): Comedian Elon James White takes on the failed and costly 40-year war.

        Cases

        Casias v. Walmart (2011 case): The ACLU is suing Wal-Mart on behalf of a cancer patient who was fired for using medical marijuana in compliance with state law.

        Arizona v. U.S. (2011 case): The American Civil Liberties Union, representing the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association (AzMMA), argued for the dismissal of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s lawsuit challenging her own state’s medical marijuana law. The law protects the right of sick patients to access the medicine they need. In January 2012, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit.


        On Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 1:59 PM, Press, MPD (MPD) <mpd.press@...> wrote:
         

        Today, proposed legislation to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was introduced in Council. This is a significant issue that merits robust discussion on a broad spectrum of issues, including concerns about the risk to children with increased access, the health impact of increasingly potent plants, and conflict with federal laws. In the meantime, it is important for the community to recognize that some of the information being used as an argument for decriminalization is flawed. As I believe our community members know, MPD has not prioritized marijuana arrests. Since day one, my priority has been combatting violent crime, and the District is safer as a result. Marijuana users are simply not being targeted in the manner suggested by a recent report from the ACLU and by many advocates for decriminalization.  To learn more about the flaws in the ACLU report, please read my letter to the editor that was recently published in The Washington Post:

         

        With the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program, Kids and Teens Eat For Free at schools, parks, and community organizations all summer long!
        Call 311, text 202-656-5EAT, or visit www.onecityyouth.dc.gov to find a site near you.

         





        --
        kimberly

        a resident of dc and taxed without representation.

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      • Linda Lee
        So is this how we begin the discussion?  I, personally am concerned about the developing brains in children and young people. Brains are not fully developed
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 10 4:40 PM
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          So is this how we begin the discussion?
           I, personally am concerned about the developing brains in children and young people. Brains are not fully developed until the late teens/early twenties. Many children here in the city already are exposed to drugs, either pre- or post-natally. Is this going to make it even more dangerous -- like second-hand smoke? Will their teachers be smoking pot in the classroom? Teachers do smoke tobacco  on school campuses now. Do we know what the long-term effects of this are going to be on our next generation? I'm talking the twenty to forty-year olds? People who are alcoholics have slowed cognitive responses -- what I call "pickled brain syndrome". When I worked at DOT back in the 70's, such a person worked in my office. He could do very little work. He just basically got in his time til lunch when he could get his drink. Back under the old Civil Service System, no one could be fired. Fortunately this man was almost retirement age.
          I would like to know what the Ward 5/6 Drug Prevention Center (Sasha Bruce) has to say on this. To me, they are the experts on this.
          I feel like we are headed down a slippery slope on this one. Wouldn't we be better off requiring these people to just go to a class on drugs and their effects on the brain? I mean don't charge them, make it more like a traffic offense. Just DO NOT LEGALIZE IT. help people to go in a positive direction and NOT become a criminal.
          Thanks for opening up the discussion.
          LD Lee
          From: "Press, MPD (MPD)" <mpd.press@...>
          To: "mpd-5d@yahoogroups.com" <mpd-5d@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 1:59 PM
          Subject: [MPD-5D] Chief Lanier's comment on Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
           
          Today, proposed legislation to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was introduced in Council. This is a significant issue that merits robust discussion on a broad spectrum of issues, including concerns about the risk to children with increased access, the health impact of increasingly potent plants, and conflict with federal laws. In the meantime, it is important for the community to recognize that some of the information being used as an argument for decriminalization is flawed. As I believe our community members know, MPD has not prioritized marijuana arrests. Since day one, my priority has been combatting violent crime, and the District is safer as a result. Marijuana users are simply not being targeted in the manner suggested by a recent report from the ACLU and by many advocates for decriminalization.  To learn more about the flaws in the ACLU report, please read my letter to the editor that was recently published in The Washington Post:
           
          With the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program, Kids and Teens Eat For Free at schools, parks, and community organizations all summer long!
          Call 311, text 202-656-5EAT, or visit http://onecityyouth.dc.gov/ to find a site near you.
           
        • teabelly
          Some things I wonder about: - How has marijuana prohibition impacted consumption? - Can a controlled legitimate market have benefits over a black market? - How
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 11 1:19 AM
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            Some things I wonder about:

            • How has marijuana prohibition impacted consumption?  
            • Can a controlled legitimate market have benefits over a black market?
            • How much does enforcing marijuana prohibition cost the District?
            • It is my understanding that marijuana does not kill people, though legal controlled drugs such as alcohol and tobacco do.  What is the justification for alcohol and tobacco legality?
              • Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose. According to the prestigious European medical journal, The Lancet, "The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health. ... It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat ... than alcohol or tobacco."
            • How much income could DC generate taxing and controlling marijuana like Washington State or Colorado?
              • NORML supports the eventual development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source. This policy, generally known as legalization, exists on various levels in a handful of European countries like The Netherlands and Switzerland, both of which enjoy lower rates of adolescent marijuana use than the U.S. Such a system would reduce many of the problems presently associated with the prohibition of marijuana, including the crime, corruption and violence associated with a "black market."
              • A CATO report estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. 
              • "From Canada we’ve learned that the production cost of (government-sponsored) marijuana is roughly 33¢ a gram. Currently, U.S. marijuana consumers pay at least $10 per gram retail for illegal marijuana. If the cost of retailing and distribution is the same as for legal tobacco cigarettes, about 10¢ a gram, then selling the (legal) product at exactly the same price as on the street today ($10 per gram) could raise $40 billion to $100 billion in new revenue. Not chump change. Government would simply be transferring revenue from organized crime to the public purse."
              • SAMHSA estimates seem to suggest that 10-30% of Washingtonians use marijuana each month.
              • this study: High Tax States: Options for Gleaning Revenue from Legal Cannabis addresses excise taxes and other ways a legalized industry could produce government revenue from
                 researchers at Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, and with RAND Corporation 
            On Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 7:40 PM, Linda Lee <elcsmail@...> wrote:
             

            So is this how we begin the discussion?
             I, personally am concerned about the developing brains in children and young people. Brains are not fully developed until the late teens/early twenties. Many children here in the city already are exposed to drugs, either pre- or post-natally. Is this going to make it even more dangerous -- like second-hand smoke? Will their teachers be smoking pot in the classroom? Teachers do smoke tobacco  on school campuses now. Do we know what the long-term effects of this are going to be on our next generation? I'm talking the twenty to forty-year olds? People who are alcoholics have slowed cognitive responses -- what I call "pickled brain syndrome". When I worked at DOT back in the 70's, such a person worked in my office. He could do very little work. He just basically got in his time til lunch when he could get his drink. Back under the old Civil Service System, no one could be fired. Fortunately this man was almost retirement age.
            I would like to know what the Ward 5/6 Drug Prevention Center (Sasha Bruce) has to say on this. To me, they are the experts on this.
            I feel like we are headed down a slippery slope on this one. Wouldn't we be better off requiring these people to just go to a class on drugs and their effects on the brain? I mean don't charge them, make it more like a traffic offense. Just DO NOT LEGALIZE IT. help people to go in a positive direction and NOT become a criminal.
            Thanks for opening up the discussion.
            LD Lee
            From: "Press, MPD (MPD)" <mpd.press@...>
            To: "mpd-5d@yahoogroups.com" <mpd-5d@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 1:59 PM
            Subject: [MPD-5D] Chief Lanier's comment on Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
             
            Today, proposed legislation to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana was introduced in Council. This is a significant issue that merits robust discussion on a broad spectrum of issues, including concerns about the risk to children with increased access, the health impact of increasingly potent plants, and conflict with federal laws. In the meantime, it is important for the community to recognize that some of the information being used as an argument for decriminalization is flawed. As I believe our community members know, MPD has not prioritized marijuana arrests. Since day one, my priority has been combatting violent crime, and the District is safer as a result. Marijuana users are simply not being targeted in the manner suggested by a recent report from the ACLU and by many advocates for decriminalization.  To learn more about the flaws in the ACLU report, please read my letter to the editor that was recently published in The Washington Post:
             
            With the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program, Kids and Teens Eat For Free at schools, parks, and community organizations all summer long!
            Call 311, text 202-656-5EAT, or visit http://onecityyouth.dc.gov/ to find a site near you.
             




            --
            kimberly

            a resident of dc and taxed without representation.

             *       *        *
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