Tax & Regulate
Two states, Colorado and Washington, lead the country in bringing marijuana fully out of the black-market, where adults over 21 years can purchase small amounts of marijuana over the counter for consumption in private residences. In 2014, voters in two additional states, Oregon and Alaska, approved the creation of regulated, legal markets for marijuana.
The reality is, despite harsh penalties, nearly $8 billion per year of law enforcement funding(1), and a six-fold increase in the nation’s prison population, the rate of marijuana use has held steady since the 1970’s. Similar to alcohol prohibition, a black-market in the drug trade provides immense profits to criminals and a trail of violence in their wake.
RAMP supports a realistic approach to marijuana regulation that provides legal cultivation and possession of marijuana for adults with stipulations against public use and impaired driving. We are not selling marijuana, but are selling the freedom to privacy in ones’ own home.
RAMP does not support recreational marijuana use by children. In fact, we believe access to marijuana will be substantially lowered by bringing sales into a regulated store front with every incentive for the business owner, in order to avoid losing her license, to disallow sales to children. The proof stands when comparing the Netherland’s legal market, where an estimated 9% of students partake in marijuana use(2) versus a CDC estimate that as much as 20% of America’s youth experiment with the drug(3). In other words, drug dealers do not card.
Additionally, there is evidence that the real “gateway” to harder drug use is the association with the black-market one enters to purchase marijuana. Again comparing the Netherlands legal market, this time specifically to San Francisco where marijuana purchases were illegal, San Francisco marijuana users were twice as likely to use crack cocaine, over twice as likely to use amphetamines, and five times as likely to use opiates(4).
Just as the nation learned from the failed alcohol prohibition of the 1920’s, RAMP is certain we will look back on marijuana prohibition as a relic happily left in the past.
(1) Miron, Jeffrey A. “The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition.” Marijuana Policy Project. June 2005.
(2) Netherlands Ministry of Public Health, Welfare, and Sports. National Drug Monitor, Annual Report, 2005.
(3) U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2005,” table 30.
(4) C. Reinarman, P. Cohen, and H. Kaal. “The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and San Francisco.” American Journal of Public Health, May 2004.