The end of the war on marijuana
By Roger A. Roffman, Special to CNN
updated 8:31 AM EST, Thu November 8, 2012
The costs of marijuana prohibition have hindered rather than helped good decision-making, says Roger Roffman.
- On Tuesday, voters in Washington state and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana
- Roger Roffman: Washington state’s historical measure deserve close attention
- He says the state has offered the most compelling replacement to prohibition to date
- Roffman: Prohibition has hindered more than it has helped good decision-making
Editor’s note: Roger A. Roffman is a professor emeritus of social work at the University of Washington, a sponsor of I-502, and author of the forthcoming “A Marijuana Memoir.”
(CNN) — The historic measure to regulate and tax marijuana in Washington State deserves to be looked at closely as a model of how legalization ought to be designed and implemented elsewhere in America.
We’ve turned a significant corner with the approval of Initiative 502, which purposefully offers a true public health alternative to the criminal prohibition of pot.
For the first time in a very long time, the well-intended but failed criminal penalties to protect public health and safety will be set aside. Adults who choose to use marijuana and obtain it through legal outlets will no longer be faced with the threat of criminal sanctions. People of color will no longer face the egregious inequities in how marijuana criminal penalties are imposed. Parents, as they help prepare their children for the choices they face concerning marijuana, will no longer be hobbled by misinformation about the drug and the absence of effective supports to encourage abstinence.