The political support for cannabis legalization grew louder over the weekend, thanks to Rep. Tim Ryan. The Ohio Democrat called for marijuana to be legalized in all 50 states in an op-ed for CNN.
“As co-chair of the House Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus, I’ve been hesitant to support legalizing marijuana in the past,” Ryan wrote. “But after meeting with countless Ohio families and youth whose lives have been irreparably harmed by a marijuana arrest, I find the social and economic injustices of our marijuana policy too big to ignore.”
Ryan added that believes “no person should be sentenced to a lifetime of hardship because of a marijuana arrest.” He called such action “morally wrong” and “economically nonsensical.”
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“That is why I am calling for an end to marijuana being used as an excuse to lock up our fellow Americans,” he wrote. “Marijuana should be legal in all 50 states.”
Ryan emphasized the need for Americans to invest in a country that would boost everyone. To support his views Ryan referenced studies that demonstrate how legalizing marijuana could impact financially. In fact, marijuana legalization could save “save $7.7 billion in averted enforcement costs and add $6 billion in additional tax revenue — a $13.7 billion net savings. Not to mention the reported 782,000 jobs it could create on day one.”
A massive improvement Congress could make, according to Ryan, is to pass the Marijuana Justice Act. The bill would remove marijuana’s designation as a Schedule I drug, which would eliminate criminal penalties for those who distribute marijuana.
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“The War on Drugs failed the American people,” Ryan concluded. “It is time for us to take the necessary steps to right our nation’s wrongs. We cannot afford to leave people behind and money on the table.”