I support marijuana legalization and regulation, as well as the policy of expunging the of records of people convicted of marijuana offenses. Big government dictating people’s personal choices by criminalizing the use of marijuana creates a very big problem, as lives are ruined forever by the criminal court system.

Those who say “drugs are bad so we must make them illegal” must understand the complex nature of the unintended consequences that result from the policies they support. Because of the artificially high cost of illegal drugs, these often catastrophic consequences extend as far as the drug/gang wars in South and Central America and the refugee problem at our borders. Wherever there is a lot of money, organized crime will be right there feeding off that money. The policies and the unintended consequences are inseparable; to advocate for one is to support both.

Making alcohol illegal in the 1920's did not work. It took over 10 years and many devastating unintended consequences for the American people (and government) to realize that fact and to repeal Prohibition. Organized crime originated as a result of Prohibition -- and is still a problem to this day. We should realize this War on Drugs was a colossal mistake from the beginning, and end it as soon as possible -- if not at the federal level, then at least at the state level.

We have learned in recent years (from this interview with John Erlichmann, who was Richard Nixon's chief counsel) that the whole premise of the War on Drugs was for political expediency and advantage -- fundamentally, the War on Drugs was a fraud because it was not based on a concern about drug use itself, or about the lives of drug users.

Industrial Hemp is another unintended victim of our War on Drugs. This plant cannot be abused, and has many agricultural and industrial benefits. Paper made from hemp has a much smaller ecological footprint than paper made by chopping down trees. Clothing made from hemp needs less acreage than what is needed to make the same clothing from cotton. For more information, see Consumer Products Made from Hemp and Hemp Information, Uses and Facts.

Several European countries are very successful at treating, instead of criminalizing, drug-related problems. A very good book that documents the success of how drugs, drug addiction, and drug rehabilitation is managed in Europe is "Chasing the Scream" by Johann Hari. Michael Moore’s movie “Where to Invade Next” does a good job documenting what some countries are doing with respect to drug policy. We should look into successful European programs that manage drug policy and rehabilitate addicts.

Many law enforcement officers, present and retired, agree that we should end the War on Drugs. Law Enforcement Action Partnership is an organization that was formed to bring together law enforcement officials who are against prohibition and who lobby for responsible drug laws. The members of this organization are concerned with balancing “personal freedom and responsibility with the public health risks of death, disease, and addiction.” They provide a speakers bureau of retired law enforcement officers in most states to help end prohibition responsibly and to recommend effective drug policy.