Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans want to legalize cannabis. Colorado and Washington have already legalized cannabis, and there’s a good chance that Alaska and Oregon could be joining them by the end of the year. But what we really need is reform at the federal level.
At least one federal judge agrees. Richard A. Posner is a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. Anyone that has gone through law school recently is certainly familiar with Mr. Posner as he is one of the most influential legal minds in the country. He recently stated the following in an article he wrote for New Republic:
The sale and possession of marijuana are en route to being decriminalized; and I am inclined to think that cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, and the rest of the illegal drugs should be decriminalized as well—though not deregulated. They should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration for safety, like other drugs, and they should be taxed heavily, like alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarettes are “recreational” drugs, too—and quite possibly more destructive of the users than the illegal drugs are, and, in the case of alcohol, also of acquaintances, family members, drivers, and pedestrians. The revenue from a sales tax on marijuana alone would pay for a substantial chunk of the cost of our prison system.
This is a very significant endorsement for cannabis legalization. Justice Posner has been tasked with carrying out federal law. So when he speaks up and says that it’s time for federal cannabis laws to be changed, the federal government should listen. I’m hopeful that other federal judges will join Justice Posner, and that all states in America take a new approach.