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Americans for Prosperity - Statement Calling for Principled Approach to Marijuana & Drug Reform

On March 12, 2021, Americans for Prosperity - National released a statement calling for:

States should also create a legal marketplace for the sale of marijuana that is not excessively taxed or regulated and which ensures equal access for large and small enterprises. This will help end the existing black market and the problems it brings. Many states should learn lessons from overly-regulated markets post-legalization, such the alcohol industry to avoid those same mistakes.

Simple possession of drugs should no longer be a felony. States like Oklahoma for example, have recently reduced simple drug possession to a misdemeanor offense. This small policy change has already saved the state more than $10.6 million and averted almost 2,200 years of incarceration.

This has allowed the state to focus prison beds on those who pose a greater harm to public safety and diverted additional funding to treatment and diversion that help individuals overcome their addiction. This change also means that these individuals will not have a felony record, which can have devastating effects on reentry success, ultimately leading to far higher costs to taxpayers in the future.

Policymakers at the federal and state levels should reexamine drug laws and reduce penalties and sentence enhancements for certain drug crimes. Drug laws routinely carry unnecessarily harsh penalties and enhancements. By reducing or removing these penalties, states can safely lower their jail and prison populations and reinvest those savings in front-end diversion and treatment.

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