Top state legal minds and nearly 50 other current and former police officials wrote to the congressional leadership on Wednesday showing their support for a federal cannabis legalization bill. The letter, signed by four state attorneys general and the law enforcement officers urged for a vote on the legislation on the floor of the House next month.
Strong voter support
This development comes at a time when a new survey reveals strong voter support toward federal marijuana legalization measures. According to a new poll, American voters across the divide (62 percent) support recreational cannabis legalization, with 60 percent of Republicans supporting the bill and its provisions.
“As front-line public safety experts, we believe that responsible regulation and control o marijuana will be more beneficial to society than prohibiting and criminalizing it. The COVID-19 pandemic shines a bright light on why this kind of reform is as urgent as ever as a matter of public health, safety, and better use of much-needed resources,” the law enforcement coalition wrote.
The coalition also pushed for the passing of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. The MORE bill was cleared by the House Judiciary Committee in 2019. According to insiders, plans are underway to have a floor vote this September.
In the letter, the criminal justice professionals expressed their concern for a speedy action toward federal cannabis legalization. They emphasized that legalization would harmonize their relationship with the people they serve and channel resources to other crimes that are most serious.
Part of the letter reads:
Indeed, legalizing, regulating, and controlling marijuana at the federal level is an opportunity to repair and strengthen the relationship between us and the people we serve; to shift public resources toward the most serious crimes; to reduce the size and influence of the illicit market; and to usher in an era of health-centred approaches – rather than criminal punishment – for people who use drugs.
A network of criminal justice professionals
The letter was organized by the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) and Fair and Just Prosecution, which included four attorneys general of Minnesota, Delaware, Oregon, and New York. Other signatures include those of a former attorney general of Ohio, the National Black Police Association, and several current and former police officials and prosecutors.
This move has drawn support from various professionals, with many supporting it. According to the state’s attorney Kim Fox, legalization will open doors for thousands and strengthen communities.
“I’m proud to join these law enforcement officials in saying we need to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs. We remain focused on combating violent crime, and the work we’ve done clearing cannabis records is opening doors for thousands and strengthening our communities,” Fox tweeted.
According to the law enforcement representatives, criminalizing low-level marijuana offences will just continue to yield distrust in police service and lead to a waste of resources. On the other hand, cannabis legalization can help reduce youth access and promote public safety.