Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) wrote an op-ed for CNN calling for marijuana to be legalized in all 50 states, saying the War on Drugs has “failed.”
“As co-chair of the House Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus, I’ve been hesitant to support legalizing marijuana in the past,” Ryan wrote. “But after meeting with countless Ohio families and youth whose lives have been irreparably harmed by a marijuana arrest, I find the social and economic injustices of our marijuana policy too big to ignore.”
Ryan said he believes “no person should be sentenced to a lifetime of hardship because of a marijuana arrest,” arguing it is both “morally wrong” and “economically nonsensical.”
“That is why I am calling for an end to marijuana being used as an excuse to lock up our fellow Americans,” he continued. “Marijuana should be legal in all 50 states.”
Ryan cited studies that have shown marijuana legalization could save “$7.7 billion in averted enforcement costs and add $6 billion in additional tax revenue.”
“The War on Drugs failed the American people,” Ryan concluded. “It is time for us to take the necessary steps to right our nation’s wrongs. We cannot afford to leave people behind and money on the table.”
The Hill added:
Ryan’s call for legalizing marijuana nationwide comes as more states are easing their laws. Recreational marijuana is currently legal in nine states and Washington, D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in another 29.
Michigan and Oklahoma will be voting on marijuana initiatives this November. Oklahoma residents voted to legalize medicinal marijuana in June.