I choose to abstain from cannabis, tobacco and alcohol. I think these things can be detrimental to one’s self productivity, especially if abused. However, our government should not unreasonably impose restrictions on our individual freedom, and for this reason I can set aside my personal choices and support a government policy that embraces liberty on the issue of Cannabis.

Truth is, those of us who want to use cannabis are going to access it and use it anyway, whether legal or not. Would we rather it be accessed from the hands of violent cartels or legitimate tax-paying enterprises? Also, a criminal conviction for possessing Cannabis can ruin the ability for one to obtain a job, and we don’t want to ruin someone’s life over something so trivial. In addition, we have wasted so many resources in the judicial system processing cannabis-related offenses. Perhaps its time to rethink this issue.

I would like to see decriminalization of Cannabis at the Federal level, and remove it from the DEA Schedule. For example, the DEA Schedule is for drugs which (i) are highly addictive; and (ii) have no recognizable medical value. Cannabis is said to be rarely addictive and it certainly has medicinal benefits; therefore Cannabis should be excluded from the DEA Schedule.

Let me be clear, while I support decriminalization of Cannabis, I remain very much in support of regulations prohibiting other drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and others. I do not think all drugs should be legalized! Just Cannabis, and only because it’s not highly addictive (less addictive than alcohol) and doesn’t kill people by overdose (just makes them lazy, right?).

By removing Cannabis from the DEA Schedule, banks will be better able to work with Cannabis businesses. Right now, these businesses cannot access banks, so they often carry cash, high volumes of it. This leads to crime on Cannabis businesses, making them more likely targets of burglary, robbery and other crimes. However, if given access to banking, we can reduce much of the crimes on Cannabis businesses. In addition, banking access will go a long way to help collect taxes on Cannabis sales and to legitimatize the Cannabis industry.

Many are informed of the opioid crisis in America. Perhaps Cannabis can offer a less-expensive alternative to traditional opioid pharmaceuticals, especially in patients looking to relive pain. In this way, we can reduce the incidence of opioid addiction, and the many problems that stem from it, such as crime to support the habit, homelessness, mental illness, etc.

I propose we think of Cannabis in terms of: (i) Individual Activity; and (ii) Commercial Activity. Individual Activity means cultivating limited quantities for personal use, possessing personal use quantities, and actual personal use of Cannabis (medicinal or recreational). Commercial Activity means cultivation of an amount exceeding that for reasonable personal use, distribution and sale of Cannabis, and manufacturing and sale of Cannabis-based products. With regard to Individual use, I say we decriminalize it at the Federal level and let States and localities regulate as-desired. With respect to Commercial Use, I say we regulate it under the jurisdiction of the ATF in a manner much like alcohol and tobacco.

I realize this is not a traditional Republican view, but it’s time the Republican Party explored an alternative policy.