We do support laws that remove criminal sanctions for low-level marijuana use, but the overall objective of drug policy should be to discourage drug use. Any proposed laws removing criminal penalties must be paired with requisite investments in prevention, treatment, and drugged driving enforcement. Decriminalization is also a confusing term, often inadvertently or purposefully used to advance legalization.
Non-violent drug offenders – regardless of the drug – should not be saddled with criminal records that would imperil their recovery and reintegration into our communities. Still, we also know laws discouraging drug consumption work to keep rates of use down. That is why we support evidence-based reforms that discourage use while avoiding criminal penalties. There are a wide array of smart-on-crime alternatives that remove criminal penalties for smoking marijuana including drug courts, pre-trial diversion programs, and probation reform. Communities are healthier and safer when these reforms are coupled with prevention and treatment programs.