Research suggests that states will benefit greatly from the new arrangement. The Washington State Office of Financial Management estimates revenue from legalizing and regulating marijuana in the state could amount to almost $2 billion over the next five years. And studies in Colorado and elsewhere show both decreases in adolescent use and a decline in traffic fatalities since medical marijuana has been regulated in the state. Many scholars believe these gains in fiscal and social responsibility will increase with heightened regulation.
The war on marijuana is this nation’s longest quagmire. We have earnestly devoted ourselves to a law enforcement approach to marijuana policy for several decades with little to show for it other than the world’s highest incarceration rates and staggering federal and state deficits. Voters are ready for a new approach.
Norm Stamper served as a chief of police for the Seattle Police Department (retired, 34 years in law enforcement); Tony Ryan served as a lieutenant with the Denver Police Department (retired, 36 years in law enforcement). Both are speakers for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of police, judges and prosecutors opposed to the war on marijuana.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.