In Historic First, United States’ Top Doctor Says Decriminalize Cannabis

Virtually no week goes by without the cannabis community taking a big step towards ending federal prohibition, whether it’s politically, culturally, or scientifically. It’s a good thing that we have the truth and common sense on our side as apparently each of these steps are necessary towards overcoming decades of Reefer Madness propaganda and the political influence of deep-pocketed special interests that benefit from mass incarceration policies that enrich the prison-industrial complex, from private prisons to drug testing companies. Now, making history as the first sitting United States Surgeon General to back cannabis decriminalization, Dr. Vivek Murthy says that it’s time to stop jailing people for marijuana, as Marijuana Moment reported:

“’When it comes to decriminalization, I don’t think that there is value to individuals or to society to lock people up for marijuana use,’ Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a CNN appearance. ‘I don’t think that serves anybody well.’

“Murthy was answering a question about a new draft federal marijuana legalization bill that was circulated last week by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other top senators.

“While the surgeon general stopped short of endorsing full-scale commercial cannabis legalization, his comments do indicate support for an approach that would at least decriminalize low-level possession.”

Surgeon General Murthy isn’t exactly the very first U.S. Surgeon General as Dr. Joycelyn Elders backed legalization after serving in government, even keynoting the International Cannabis Business Conference back in 2016, as covered by the Sacramento Bee:

“The marijuana legalization advocate called for an end to federal policy that classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no accepted medical use – listed as worse than methamphetamine or cocaine.

“She called for increased federally sanctioned medical marijuana research and decriminalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use – as part of shifting resources from law enforcement to public health.

“’We know that prohibition laws did nothing but waste money, waste lives and destroy opportunities,’ said Elders, who decried racially disproportionate arrests and criminal sentences for marijuana and other narcotics. ‘It is not working. And marijuana has been the engine driving the drug war.’”

With various factors to hammer out legislatively, including taxes, social equity provisions, and criminal justice reforms, passing a federal legalization bill is going to be a tough slog, so we are going to need all of the ammunition that we can and the nation’s top doctor on board certainly won’t hurt. While the Surgeon General isn’t as famous as CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, so he won’t have the same impact culturally as Dr. Gupta’s evolution on the subject, the Surgeon General’s medical expertise should certainly help combat some fear mongering from prohibitionists. Another day, another step in the right direction in our fight for freedom and common sense, so I’ll take it.

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