Democratic Representative Tim Ryan, of Ohio's 13th Congressional District, has come out in support of Cannabis legalization nationwide. He tweeted his support for the measure on Monday, following up on an editorial he wrote for CNN. Several politicians have come out in support of ending the federal prohibition of Cannabis by leaving it up to the states to pass their own laws, however, Ryan is one of the few people to call for full legalization on the federal level.
Ending the federal prohibition would be ideal, since, in addition to state houses not being the most responsive democratic instruments, one of the major issues facing the industry is interstate commerce. Right now, MA is in the process of legalizing recreational marijuana use, however you can't purchase Cannabis grown in California. This is both because of the federal bans and also because state laws would ban interstate commerce throughout the Cannabis industry.
Ryan's editorial hit on all the right notes as far as why federal legalization is so important. Despite many people continuing to believe that Cannabis prosecutions are not a big deal, last year more people were arrested last year over pot than for murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery — combined. His position represents a major turnaround for someone who used to be so outspoken and opposed to legalization. As much as people will wish to blame him for having been wrong in the past, the success of the legalization fight will depend on getting more people to change their minds. Hopefully, the swift kind of shift we saw from the democratic party over the question of gay marriage can be replicated in the legalization debate.
Why should Marijuana legalization be a top priority for Republicans? It saves a ton of money. Want to balance the budget? Legalize it. The last major study on this topic showed that legalization could save $7.7 Billion dollars ANNUALLY.
The specific bill that he is pushing for is known as the Marijuana Justice Act (gotta love the name). This legislation removes marijuana's designation as a Schedule 1 Drug and also eliminates all criminal penalties for an individual that imports, exports, manufactures, or distributes Cannabis. Basically, all aspect of the business. It also provides a $500 million community reinvestment fund to provide job training for this newly legal industry.
Tim Ryan is an interesting politician to follow for many reasons. He is a former High School football star who has written a book, A Mindful Nation, about the practice of mindfulness in public and private life. He has also made a news splash recently by hiring Bernie Sander's former campaign coordinator in Iowa, Pete D'Alessandro, to be his adviser on the ground in Iowa this year. Ryan also made a series of visits to the early primary states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa.
Here's to hoping that every other Democratic Presidential hopeful follows suit.
#ICYMI: Last week I announced my support for the legalization of Marijuana nationwide. It's time to correct misguid… https://t.co/omo4vqyvQh— Congressman Tim Ryan (@Congressman Tim Ryan) 1532364847.0