420 Policy Thread
Exec Summary:
MJ = Cannabis. MJ was criminalized in 1930s, this movement was rooted in racism & fear & have caused disproportionate racial composition in prisons. In states that have legalized MJ, the leaders in industry are predominately white. 1/
Avg minority execs = 17% as of 2017. Policy recommendation: decontrol MJ, remove from DEA & CSA (Controlled Substances Act), & legalize&regulate under FDA.
Aside from aforementioned inequities, current MJ policies have resulted in an absent tax base. TAX MJ -> fund services. 2/
Analysis explores 3 policy alternatives:
1) status quo
2) reschedule to lesser schedule in CSA
3) Remove from CSA & DEA, regulate by FDA

Each alternative is assessed with 4 policy goals in mind:
1) empower states, expand tax base
2) reduce incarceration rates
3) reduce opioid crisis
4) political will & feasibility

Most desirable alt. is #3. Main challenge is political feasibility.

End of Summary. Next:
Brief History:
Prior to 1900s, no MJ regulation. Mexican Revolution 1910 +Great Depression 1930s = xenophobia & criminalization. Racial tension as ppl looked to place blame for declining economy and unemployment rates. MJ Tax Act (MTA) 1937 made MJ illegal w/o fed tax stamp. 5/
Enter Reefer Madness Era. Politicos exploited lack of education on MJ, created widespread fear by spreading false rhetoric in film & news. Fast forward: Nixon's WAR ON DRUGS, creation of DEA & CSA of 1970, because racism. War on Drugs costs billions to taxpayers. Not cool. 6/
Pres. Carter tried to loosen reigns; Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to a Zip, 1977, but then MJ policy regressed under old, racist-ass Reagan. Incarceration rates skyrocketed between 1980-97: 50k to 400k for drug related, non-violent crime. 7/
Clinton 1992 stressed rehab instead, MJ policy most lenient under Obama, but states were 1st to take action beforehand. As of 11/6/2018, rec MJ legal in 10 states and DC, med MJ legal in 33.

End MJ History. Begin: Prohibition and Rent-Seeking as Government Failures. 8/
Problems inherent in Representative Democracy: Politicians often behave in own self-interest to maintain status & influence. Taking contributions from groups that have something to lose or gain from a candidates policies. Lobbying tactic = Rent-Seeking 9/
Effort to control competition via govt. For example, Pharmaceutical companies use lobbyists and PACs to influence politicians, promising campaign contributions if candidate will legislate against MJ reform. Ew. Insys Therapuetics, 2011 gave $500k to an anti-MJ campaign in AZ. 10/
Police Unions & Private Prison Corps have also been guilty of funding anti-MJ campaigns. Rent-seeking in this fashion is detrimental to public good. More money = more voter outreach.

Side note: get big money out of politix.

End Section. Begin: Status Quo is Out of Date. 11/
Under CSA 1970, MJ classified as Schedule 1 narcotic. Today, still S1, but not narcotic... so DEA recognizes MJ isn't a narcotic, but still penalizes as S1. OK lol. 12/
Schedule 1 drugs "have high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use in the US," which is okay but in the case of MJ has been disproven by SCIENCE.

End Status Quo. Begin Policy Goals and Policy Alternatives. See Tweets 3 & 4 for Alts and Goals.
60% of Americans support legalization of MJ.
1) Maintaining Status Quo does not accomplish any of our goals. It is unlikely the status quo will remain.
2) Reclassifying MJ to lesser schedule, S5 for example, in CSA makes punishment less severe. It accomplishes some goals 14/
Reclassification would expand fed tax base to include med MJ sales, but does not decriminalize, so still costs taxpayers booku. Can decrease incarceration rates as well: S1 sentences 5-10 years, S5 1&4 yrs for 1st&2nd offenses. 15/
Civil Asset Forfeiture still a problem under this alt.& potential fines ATROCIOUS ($100-$200k). Policy alt 2 can also help reduce the opioid crisis, not exponentially tho. This option is fairly feasible. Middle ground. Proposal needs to be published in Federal Register. 16/
3) Decontrolling MJ from CSA/DEA and regulating under FDA accomplishes our goals! Expanded tax base from med & rec MJ, boo-yah. The Tax Policy Center reported $18M in federal gains from Tobacco sales in 2015, imagine the gain from MJ. 17/
This alt is also most effective for reducing incarceration rates bc decriminalization. No more wasting tax $. Govt must also provide reintegration back into society. Reparations for those historically targeted, but that is another analysis. Also reducing opioid crisis. 18/
SCIENCE SAYS "where MJ is easily accessible, opioid overdoses are reduced by 40%." This is no joke. Wasn't Kushner supposed to be on this one? I digress. Feasibility is the biggest challenge for this alt, but there is a process for decontrolling. Federal Register publication. 19/
End Section. Begin Conclusion.

The policy recommendation is to remove MJ from CSA 1970, remove from jurisdiction of DEA, & regulate under FDA. This is the policy alt that best accomplishes our goals, promoting general welfare and public good. Happy 4/20, & please Vote.

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