To the Editor:
I was delighted to read the letter supporting an end to cannabis prohibition. I would like to clarify one point though, Illinois doesn’t have private prisons. Our prisons are paid for by the taxpayers.
It is worth mentioning that the unions that represent the Department of Corrections are very powerful in Springfield and that is why when the government tries to save money and close a prison it is met with extreme resistance.
Of course nobody wants to close a prison and release dangerous criminals back into the public, but if the criminals can be moved to another facility to save money that is a good thing, except for those prison workers who are paid by our taxes.
Most people do not realize that cannabis prohibition was not enacted out of science or any danger to public safety but because of racist fear-mongering by Harry Anslinger.
Anslinger needed to find something to demonize to keep his job after alcohol prohibition was repealed and cannabis, or as they dubbed it, marijuana, was the chosen target. In fact, the American Medical Association testified in Congress in 1937 against making the plant illegal but to no avail.
Two states have legalized cannabis for adult consumption and more likely are to follow because more people are beginning to question a policy that has such high costs and no significant results other than criminalizing otherwise law abiding Americans.
Illinois recently passed a highly restrictive medical cannabis law, and that is a good thing and a step in the right direction, but why make folks go to a doctor in order to legally consume a plant that is safer than most over the counter medications?
Cannabis should be treated in a similar fashion to alcohol with age restrictions on consumption, driving restrictions to keep our roads safe and noncommercial home growing.
Executive Director, Illinois NORML