Dr. Ken Sends: DECRIMINALIZATION OF CANNABIS Quite possibly the most remarkable public statement I have seen from a law enforcement official on the Cannabis issue was made on July 31st by Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance. He stated, quote: "Tomorrow, our Office will exit a system wherein smoking a joint can ruin your job, your college application, or your immigration status..., but our advocacy will continue. I urge New York lawmakers to legalize and regulate marijuana once and for all. The needless criminalization of pot smoking frustrates this core mission, so we are removing ourselves from the equation. Our research has found virtually no public safety rationale for the ongoing arrest and prosecution of marijuana smoking, and no moral justification for the intolerable racial disparities that underlie enforcement." End of quote. The prohibition of Cannabis was ill-conceived, discriminatory in its enforcement, horrifically expensive and immeasurably more destructive to our national culture than casual use could possibly have been. It is way past the time when it should have been ended on a national level. It is appropriate to acknowledge all those who have advocated for decriminalization during the most repressive times and to thank them for their efforts and sacrifice. My position and sentiments have always been aligned with theirs though my primary value as a Doctor of Chiropractic would have been compromised by too public an advocacy. This has been the position forced upon many other professional and public figures and is a clear and continuous violation of all of our First Amendment rights. I have been, and will remain, a committed advocate for the completion of this long process of Cannabis decriminalization on a federal level. I also advocate the immediate release of all non-violent offenders and a redirection of the funds now used for incarceration to a program of reintegration into society. While I oppose the criminalization of cannabis users, I also oppose the open, commercial promotion of this, or any other substance, that has the potential to disrupt routine and sober mental functions. I support the right of anyone who might use cannabis for medical or recreational purposes and I am confident that they will access cannabis without the aid of advertising and promotion. The history of alcohol and tobacco should guide us in that regard. We have a lengthy list of challenges and priorities facing us as a nation and promoting widespread use of any substance that would divert our attentions from that purpose would be just as foolish and wasteful of resources as persecuting users has been. If you are unfamiliar with the origins and history of Marijuana repression, it is your duty as a public official to familiarize yourself with it in order that you are able to make a rational and responsible decision in regard to future public policy. What you will discover is an outrageous and embarrassing story of racism, bigotry and unfair business practices that have been so blatant and audacious as to render them unrecognizable for what they are. I have compiled a brief list of resources for you to consult, if any doubt remains as to what your proper action should and will be. They are admittedly supportive of ending cannabis prohibition, but you have, throughout your lives, been inundated with oppositional materials that have promoted and perpetuated the current policy agenda. You will also be exposed to the ecological, medical, agricultural, industrial and economic values of the non-psychoactive strain of Cannabis known as "Industrial Hemp." In many ways, that story is more compelling than the story of Marijuana, and has the potential to move you toward decriminalization with greater urgency. Thank you for your time, I pray that you will join me, and millions of other responsible citizens and do your own part in ending this national disgrace.
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