Justice Reform in Monroe County - Decriminalize Cannabis in Monroe County

Justice Reform in Monroe County - Decriminalize Cannabis in Monroe County

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Nicholas Madison started this petition to Mayor of Monroeville, AL Charles Andrews and

Monroe County has seen the darkest of times.  Given the history of this country, the narrative is predestined for clashes of opposing forces vs. Freedom and Justice.  The movie Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan, provides an in depth look into the chilling history of our hometown.  The story contains gripping, unnerving details of true events that shake compassionate souls to the bones.  This topic of discussion has been all but kept quiet.  Still today, the very thread of this country, the very fabric that holds it together, the governing body, makes it legal to profit from the incarceration of citizens.  

Nothing screams PROGRESS like justice reform.  It often proves difficult to observe the details of the world around us and translate those details into modern day solutions for everyone.  Yet, it happens all the time. 

In November 2019, the MORE Act passed a house committee.  This bill includes measures to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, expunge prior convictions, tax marijuana, open Small Business Administration funding, provide non-discriminatory protections for marijuana use and possession, amongst other notable things. 

Washington, Vermont, Oregon, Nevada, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maine, Illinois, Colorado, California, Alaska, and even the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use.  Also, 33 states allow the medicinal use of marijuana.  Cities close to home such as Jackson (MS), Atlanta (GA), and Birmingham (AL), have chosen to move forward by decriminalizing marijuana to allow for recreational use in attempts to better utilize resources and no longer fuel the failed prohibition of marijuana.  Randall Woodfin, mayor or Birmingham, introduced a plan to pardon former misdemeanor marijuana convictions, calling it “Pardons for Progress”.  The state of Illinois is also expunging an estimated 700,000 marijuana-related police records and court convictions that is scheduled to be complete by 2025.  At full maturity, Illinois is expected to generate between $2 and $4 billion in annual revenue from recreational sales. 

The push for progress has been further displayed on the national scale with Major League Baseball becoming a leader in the sports world, revising its list of Drugs of Abuse.  MLB has removed marijuana from the list of drugs of abuse, and the league will start testing for opioids.  Players and team staff will have to attend mandatory educational programs in 2020 and 2021 pertaining to the dangers of opioid pain medications and practical approaches to marijuana.  In a nutshell, marijuana will be treated much like alcohol. 

Furthermore, despite marijuana being on the list of Schedule I drugs, the US Department of Health and Human Services has a patent on portions of the marijuana plant.  Patent no. 6,630,507 covers the use of cannabinoids to protect the brain from damage or degeneration caused by certain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.  While this may seem unfair, it is important to note that this is not nearly the first instance of the United States government intentionally failing its citizens.  The Tuskegee experiment, beginning in 1932, details how doctors from the U.S. Public Health Service ran a study where the doctors promised free health care to hundreds of sharecroppers in Tuskegee, Alabama.  Instead of providing the free health care as promised, the doctors injected the sharecroppers with latent syphilis.  The study was shut down in 1972.

Meanwhile, the state of Alabama has yet to take a firm stance of commitment pertaining to the legalization of marijuana.  Here in Monroe County, what side of history will we stand on?  In a society fueling the opioid crisis, will we continue to contribute to the more than 600,000 people whose lives have been altered drastically because they have been arrested in 2018 alone for mere possession of marijuana?  Shall we continue to handcuff ourselves to our dark history of robbing the lives of those not deserving such treatment?  In a time with as much room for PROGRESS as ever, in a town with as much room for GROWTH as any, shall we continue to embrace our broken past, or take the lead and bear the torch for progress?

#LegalizeIt

#UnityTheMovement

#Genesis1:29  Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.  And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground - everything that has breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food." And it was so.  

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