I'm writing to urge area residents to demand their House representative support House Joint Resolution 6, which would allow Ohioans to vote on the issue of marijuana regulation.
Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation's nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation. The historic votes on Election Day in Colorado and Washington - where, for the first time ever, a majority of voters decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition - underscore this political reality.
The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant's medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. Furthermore, the criminalization of cannabis simply doesn't work.
Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans' consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for state lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and it is time for lawmakers to impose common-sense regulations governing cannabis' personal use by adults and licensing its production.
A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production and sale of cannabis to adults - but restricts use among young people - best reduces the risks associated with its use or abuse.
I encourage you to support House Joint Resolution 6 and let the Ohio voters decide if it is time to regulate marijuana.
David C. Estes