The following organizations and individuals support marijuana decriminalization and/or legalization:
Contrary to what most people may think, pro-marijuana activists are not only made up of people interested in marijuana for medical or recreational use. A number of its more ardent proponents include physicians, economists, and even conservative politicians and law enforcement officials, all of whom support the modification of current U.S. drug policies pertaining to marijuana for the many benefits that such moves can bring to society.
Of course, marijuana legalization organizations are at the forefront of these campaigns, including:
- Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
- Students for Sensible Drug Policy
- The Drug Policy Alliance
- The Marijuana Policy Project
- Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis
- Americans for Safe Access
Aside from these high-profile organizations, there are several individuals who support the decriminalization of marijuana as well, including:
- Texas Congressman Ron Paul
- U.S. Senator from Alaska Mike Gravel
- U.S. Representative from Ohio Dennis Kucinich
Ron Paul has gone on record to state that he was against the enforcement of federal law against the use of marijuana, citing its benefits in terms of pain relief in patients with chronic health conditions. Mike Gravel was even more candid, sharing his opinion that marijuana should be made available even in liquor stores.
The reasons why all these organizations and individuals support the decriminalization of marijuana may vary slightly, but the most prevalent arguments involve the health benefits of marijuana use, the cost savings from reduced law enforcement, legal costs, and corrections costs, and the inherent benefits of marijuana for industry and commerce.
In fact, no less than the officials of the Drug Policy Advisory Group of New Mexico stated that marijuana decriminalization would result in the freeing up of more resources for the pursuit of more serious and violent crimes, without necessarily imposing an increased risk to the safety of the general public.
California was and still is one of the most vocal supporters of marijuana decriminalization, with most cities and countries having made numerous motions to decriminalize marijuana and make it more available to those with medical needs. In 2004, Oakland officials effectively decriminalized with the passing of Proposition Z, with which the recreational use of marijuana as well as its possession in small amounts was made the lowest priority for the city’s law enforcement personnel.
In 2006, Santa Cruz followed suit with the passing of Measure K, which similarity made marijuana related incidents the lowest priority for the city’s law enforcement agencies. As a result of this measure, the city clerk of Santa Cruz was required to send annual letters to various state and federal representatives, in which request were made to reform marijuana laws.
But it is perhaps in Mendocino where the most significant actions have taken place. In 2007, the county made its way to the forefront of the quest toward decriminalization, with the County Board of Supervisors was prevailed upon to send a letter supporting marijuana legalization and regulation, along with taxation of marijuana and marijuana-based products. This letter was sent to various state and federal government officials, including the President of the United States himself.