Pubdate: Fri, 17 Apr 2015
Source: Wausau Daily Herald (WI)
Copyright: 2015 Wausau Daily Herald
Author: Jim Maas


Public, religious groups, law enforcement coalition support ending
marijuana prohibition.

H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as, "The haunting fear that someone,
somewhere, may be happy." We may think that is something from the
distant past but then we are reminded of it from time to time, even in
21st century Wisconsin.

Legislation which would end the prohibition of the use of cannabis
(a.k.a. marijuana) has been introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly. What
has taken them so long to reform prohibition is a mystery. So far, 23
states and the District of Columbia permit the use of this herb with a
doctor's prescription for medical use. A few states are treating
cannabis more like alcohol.

The late Peter McWilliams, author of "Ain't Nobody's Business If You
Do," available from the public library, would have us remember these
important points:

a=C2=80cYou need not personally support or take part in any activity in
order to support another person's freedom to take part in it.

a=C2=80cAlthough, in order to exist, a society must have certain mores,
rules and codes of behavior, putting these mores, rules and codes of
behavior into the hands of the criminal justice system is the least
effective method to bring about compliance.

a=C2=80cYour freedom of choice is paid for by giving others their freedom

of choice.

Drug prohibition has been a huge, costly government blunder. It is
time to end it. Opinion polls indicate that over 70 percent favor
legalizing medical marijuana in Wisconsin. Support for regulating and
taxing recreational use, like alcohol, is around 50 percent and climbing.

Despite what you may have heard, the criminal justice community
doesn't necessarily oppose reforms. The Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition organization's vision statement says that, "LEAP envisions
a world in which drug policies work for the benefit of society and
keep our communities safer. A system of legalization and regulation
will end the violence, better protect human rights, safeguard our
children, reduce crime and disease, treat drug abusers as patients,
reduce addiction, use tax dollars more efficiently and restore the
public's respect and trust in law enforcement." Bravo.

Furthermore, faith communities are becoming more actively involved in
supporting reforms. The Unitarian Universalist Association resolved
that: "Recognizing the right of conscience for all who differ, we
denounce the war on drugs and recommend alternative goals and
policies. Let neither fear nor any other barrier prevent us from
advocating a more just, compassionate world."

The Presbyterian Church, Quakers, United Church of Christ, United
Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Progressive
Jewish Alliance are among the groups that have lent their support to
redirect efforts for a more just world.

Our communities are more diverse and compassionate than our Puritan
ancestors a=C2=80" and perhaps more compassionate that our

Jim Maas lives in Rothschild.
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