WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Shanita Penny, of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR), issued a statement following the release of R Street Institute’s paper, “How Federal Cannabis Legalization Can Restore Police Legitimacy and Enhance Public Safety,” which was sponsored by CPEAR.
“As we’ve said many times, a federal prohibition on cannabis along with poorly constructed legalization strategies often lead to acts of violence. Failure to recognize the harms of cannabis prohibition will not only result in larger mass incarcerations but will also perpetuate the war on drugs and negatively impact vulnerable communities across the country. CPEAR is grateful for R Street Institute’s thorough research and looks forward to sharing these insights with stakeholders and lawmakers alike.”
As the nation faces a substantial rise in violent crime and homicide, law enforcement should not be distracted with low-level, nonviolent cannabis offenses or stuck in a gray zone of compliance confusion due to a lack of federal action.
Key findings include:
- The legalization of cannabis has the potential to reduce negative police interactions, improve police-community relations and make the jobs of law enforcement officers less dangerous, which enhances public safety.
- The legalization and appropriate regulation of cannabis can disrupt and dissolve illegal-market access to cannabis. Well-regulated cannabis industries reduce reliance on illegal markets that are inherently associated with violence and homicide.
- The legalization of cannabis has the potential to allow substantial police resources, formerly dedicated to prohibition enforcement, to be allocated to the nationwide increases in violent crimes and homicide.
Download a one-page summary of the paper here.