Pubdate: Sun, 19 Aug 2012
Source: Beverly Citizen (MA)
Copyright: 2012 GateHouse Media, Inc.


This fall the voters in the 6th District will have an opportunity 
rarely afforded to them - a chance to directly inform their 
representatives of an opinion via a public policy question on the ballot.

The question is: "Should the state senator or representative be 
instructed to vote for a resolution requesting Congress repeal the 
federal prohibition of marijuana, as the 21st Amendment repealed 
national prohibition of alcohol, so that states may regulate it as 
they choose?"

The question is a reference to HR 2306, The Ending Federal Marijuana 
Prohibition Act of 2011 introduced in congress by Ron Paul and Barney 
Frank. Massachusetts Representative Michael Capuano signed on as a 
co-sponsor last September, and the bill has significant bipartisan support.

I welcome this chance for the people to make their voices heard. The 
war on drugs has become a defacto war on minorities in America. The 
disparities are particularly tragic in individual states where black 
men are sent to federal prison on drug charges at a rate 57 times 
greater than white men, according to Human Rights Watch. The drug 
laws are being enforced in a very biased manner.

Yet ending the prohibition on marijuana is not likely to change the 
amount of marijuana smoked in the United States. As Libertarian 
presidential candidate Gary Johnson often points out to concerned 
parents, "It will never be legal for a person to smoke marijuana, 
become impaired and get behind the wheel of a car or otherwise do 
harm to others, and it will never be legal for kids to smoke 
marijuana." But we have to understand that marijuana is our nation's 
#1 cash crop despite the prohibition; it will always be available to 
those who really wish to use it.

I feel like it's important for the candidates running for U.S. 
Congress to establish a position on this so that the constituents 
will be able to judge. I stand clearly with Ron Paul and Barney Frank 
in calling for the repeal of this prohibition. According to the Tax 
Policy Center, Massachusetts collected $587 million in 2009 in taxes 
on tobacco. Should the state decide to legalize marijuana, there is a 
new source of revenue for the state. Most importantly I feel that 
here in Massachusetts we can make a decision about marijuana without 
federal interference.

Some politicians want to make moral decisions for the people, but for 
me smaller government means trusting the people to lead their own lives.

Daniel Fishman,

Colgate Road, 6th District congressional candidate
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