Tampa’s City Council could decriminalize marijuana as early as Thursday this week. On March 3rd at 9:00 am, an ordinance to allow officers of the Tampa Police Department to write civil citations for misdemeanor cannabis possession and misdemeanor possession of cannabis paraphernalia rather than arrest will go before members for a first reading. The meeting begins at 9am. This ordinance sponsored by City Councilman Harry Cohen will save an overworked judiciary in Hillsborough County. More than that, by decriminalizing cannabis, patients and responsible users can breathe a little easier. Cannabis prohibition laws date back to the Jim Crow Era of the 1930’s. For 80 years, cannabis prohibition policies around the nation have led to racial and ethnic disparities in our prison population. Although Americans of African and Latino descent utilize cannabis no more than those of European descent, minorities remain disproportionately jailed. The mass incarcerations of Americans in general have given rise to a politically fueled private prison industry. These trends have been pointed out by the highest offices in the land, from former United States Attorney General Eric Holder to President Barack Obama.
All descent and freedom loving Americans should be in support of ending cannabis prohibition. The human rights abuses committed by the cross section of institutions and these Jim Crow Era laws have no place in American Society. We are a nation founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Cannabis prohibition laws infringe on all these inalienable rights! No man, woman, or child should have to live in fear of losing their livelihood because of a continuation of unjust laws. Tell the Tampa City Council how you feel and stand on the right side of history.
Cannabis prohibition remains the Federal Government’s policy despite half of American state’s legalizing the medical use of cannabis and four others legalizing responsible adult use.Even the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. has passed a citizen initiated referendum to legalize responsible adult use. Candidates for President have even chimed in on this policy debate.
The Republican candidates have all expressed their desire to continue cannabis prohibition with only Trump voicing support for medical marijuana use. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has voiced support for moving cannabis to Schedule II, which would allow FDA research. This policy does not go far enough and will result in the deaths of millions of patients nation-wide. Senator Bernie Sanders stands the only major party candidate that stands for ending cannabis prohibition. He is the first United States Senator in history to sponsor a bill to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. Any cannabis user that values justice and freedom should be in support of Bernie Sanders efforts to end 80 years of Jim Crow racism. Cannabis users must be active voters if there is to be any change in this nation. Activists and patients alike must support those elected officials who stand with us and put those who support the continuation of these unjust laws on notice. The time has come for all of us to stand together for our families, for freedom, for justice.
Visit www.CFLNORML.org for more information on how to get involved in ending prohibition.
CFLNORML has an event this Thursday 3/3 at 9:00 am in Tampa, FL Click the link below for more info
By Christopher Cano, CannaChronicle Staff Writer & Exec. Director of Central Florida NORML