Obama’s administration is making marijuana waves! They’ve removed the redundant PHS review that, until last month, was an extra step in marijuana research approval.
The president’s reasoning is that the federal government should follow the science behind marijuana. It’s a beautiful sentiment that I wish all our elected representatives emulated.
Now, the Obama administration has commuted the sentences of 22 prisoners. Per the official statement:
Had they been sentenced under current laws and policies, many of these individuals would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade — longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime.
Our current system that mandates minimum sentencing and prosecution is outdated, archaic. Portugal has been the model of success the United States hoped it’s system would manifest into. Their policy of treatment and decriminalization has been effective in long-term reduction of addiction and abuse. Concurrently, there has been no long-term increase in overall use.
More Americans approve of Marijuana legalization than ever before. It’s time for common sense to prevail inside our drug policies. According to DrugPolicy.org, in 2013 there were 1.5 million arrests made for nonviolent drug offenses. Marijuana arrests totaled at 693, 482. Of those arrests, 88% were for possession only. This means 610 thousand individuals were introduced to the justice system for a bag of weed.
It’s no secret that America has the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. Statistics from 2013 state we are arresting and imprisoning 1 out of 110 US citizens. Commuting the prisoner’s sentences shows that those in our executive branch are beginning to listen to the people who voted them into office. Now, if only Congress’ opinion mirrored the message our President is sending.
Compared to Portugal, our War on Drugs has been an utter and complete failure. In contrast to our ever increasing prison population, Portugal has actually seen a decrease in frequency and addiction without filling their prisons. Treatment, not prosecution drives results.
Keep a watchful eye. Our government is starting to take steps towards marijuana legalization. Voice your opinion to your representatives. Ask them to support the cause.