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Federal Judge Richard Posner Says It’s Time To Legalize Cannabis


richard posner marijuanaThere are many voices in America that are calling for an end to cannabis prohibition. Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans want to legalize cannabis. Colorado and Washington have already legalized cannabis, and there’s a good chance that Alaska and Oregon could be joining them by the end of the year. But what we really need is reform at the federal level.

At least one federal judge agrees. Richard A. Posner is a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. Anyone that has gone through law school recently is certainly familiar with Mr. Posner as he is one of the most influential legal minds in the country. He recently stated the following in an article he wrote for New Republic:

 The sale and possession of marijuana are en route to being decriminalized; and I am inclined to think that cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, and the rest of the illegal drugs should be decriminalized as well—though not deregulated. They should be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration for safety, like other drugs, and they should be taxed heavily, like alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarettes are “recreational” drugs, too—and quite possibly more destructive of the users than the illegal drugs are, and, in the case of alcohol, also of acquaintances, family members, drivers, and pedestrians. The revenue from a sales tax on marijuana alone would pay for a substantial chunk of the cost of our prison system.

This is a very significant endorsement for cannabis legalization. Justice Posner has been tasked with carrying out federal law. So when he speaks up and says that it’s time for federal cannabis laws to be changed, the federal government should listen. I’m hopeful that other federal judges will join Justice Posner, and that all states in America take a new approach.

Source: International Cannabis Business Conference


About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.