Ending the Failed Prohibition

In 1920, the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect, prohibiting the production, sale, and consumption of alcohol in the United States. The Prohibition Era led to unprecedented growth of organized crime, created an economically harmful black market, and made criminals out of everyday citizens.

Sound familiar? Much like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of cannabis has not worked, and has caused many unintended, harmful consequences. From 2004 to 2015, the number of Minnesotans imprisoned for offenses where the principal crime involved marijuana rose nearly 38%. And in 2015 alone, we spent nearly $2 million imprisoning people for these cannabis-related crimes. Even more frustrating, this unnecessary imprisonment disproportionately affects people of color and increases racial disparity in our state.

But we can change this. Even though most of the DFL candidates for governor have now lined up in favor of legalization, Tina Liebling is the only candidate who has taken concrete steps to end the prohibition of cannabis. Tina introduced HF 2714 in the Minnesota House last May, but with Republicans in charge of the Minnesota legislature and a governor on the wrong side, it is unlikely the bill will pass in 2018. We need Tina’s strong leadership in the governor’s office to make legalization a reality.

Weekly EmailLeo Alfred