FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Senate Candidate Calls for Legalizing Marijuana Nationally
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - October 27, 2014 - Independent US Senate candidate Rick Stewart called today for legalizing marijuana nationally, claiming anything less is the equivalent of unforgiveable political negligence.
"We are throwing sick people in prison for using the medicine prescribed by their doctors," said Stewart. "We arrest nearly a million people a year because their recreational preferences don't include getting drunk on alcohol. We take away college scholarships from America's poorest students, as well as their jobs and drivers licenses and children. We have no excuse for criminalizing this plant, and it is time to admit the Drug War is a complete disaster."
"Were there a serious intellectual argument against legalizing marijuana, I would be glad to consider it and change my mind, were that argument found to have value," said Steart. "But - no one is willing to make that argument. Instead, we have emotional appeals based on nonsense, and political appeals based on vote grubbing. Meanwhile millions of marijuana users suffer."
Stewart points out marijuana use has been decriminalized in a diverse range of countries including the Netherlands, Mexico, Portugal, Uruguay, Russia, Israel, Switzerland, Canada and 20 others. "Drug Warriors should feel an obligation to provide just one example of how this has negatively affected any of those countries, because the ways in which criminalization of marijuana has harmed this country are numerous and severe," he says. "Mountains of evidence say our Drug War has never worked, and never will. Instead, it has caused unimaginable human misery."
Stewart readily admits he himself has used marijuana, as have presidents Barack Obama, George Bush, and Bill Clinton. "I inhaled," he says. "Over and over and over again - that's how you get high. I look forward to traveling to Colorado after the election, to enjoy using marijuana legally, and to buy it from ordinary businesspeople instead of from criminals."
Stewart also speculates as to how many drunk driving deaths can be prevented every year by legalizing marijuana. "If only 10% of the drunk drivers were at home smoking marijuana instead, that would save 1,000 lives per year. Since we have no evidence using marijuana has killed anyone, ever, that's a net gain of 1,000 human lives annually," he calculates. "With a sufficient number of creative public service advertisements, perhaps we can eliminate drunk driving deaths completely, by persuading people to smoke marijuana instead."
Stewart also points out legalizing marijuana would both reduce the government budget deficit and help the economy. "We save $40,000 a year every time we don't arrest a marijuana user. And when marijuana businesses are legalized, they start hiring people, and paying taxes. That's win-win for citizens, and for America," he says.
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