Since the 1970s, more than a dozen government-appointed commissions have examined the effects of marijuana, and made public policy recommendations regarding its use. Overwhelmingly, the conclusions of these expert panels have been the same: marijuana prohibition causes more social damage than marijuana use, and the possession of marijuana for personal use should no longer be a criminal offense. “Cannabis ... is less harmful than other substances (amphetamines, barbiturates, codeine-like compounds)."The criminal sanction for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for personal use by a person aged eighteen or over should be eliminated. The criminal law's implementation damages individuals in terms of criminal records and risks to jobs and relationships to a degree that far outweighs any harm that cannabis may be doing to a society. Therefore, prison should no longer be a penalty for possession of cannabis. The current law prohibiting cannabis possession and trafficking appears to have a very limited deterrent effect, yet entails high social costs and diverts limited police resources from other pressing needs such as domestic violence and robbery. The severity of punishment for a cannabis possession charge should be reduced. Specifically, cannabis possession should be converted to a civil violation. The available evidence indicates that removal of jail as a sentencing option would lead to considerable cost savings without leading to increases in the rates of cannabis use. A Tobacco, Alcohol, and Cannabis Authority should be created and charged with responsibility for developing and enforcing regulations concerning the production, distribution, sale, and use of these three substances. ( TACA)
President Jimmy Carter sent a message to Congress on August 2, 1977 stating that;
"Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this clearer than in the laws against the...