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Aloha Chair Lee, members of House Leadership, I am reaching out to you in the hopes that you will support the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana for adults. Such a policy would be a triple win, generating tax revenue and jobs, creating cost savings for law enforcement and reducing the nonviolent incarcerated population, which has ballooned out-of-control as a result of the failed War on Drugs. Four years worth of data from jurisdictions that have followed this path confirms that legalizing, or at least decriminalizing, marijuana for adult-use does not result in a public health or safety threat. Crash rates are statistically identical in states where marijuana is legal compared to states where it is not. Rates of teen use have actually decreased in states where marijuana is legal as black market sellers are replaced with legitimate vendors who follow the law. Revenue collected through the taxation of marijuana is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, annually, now, and re-investment of that money into educational and treatment programs have resulted in greater public health and safety. Rates of opioid addiction and related health costs have plummeted in legal states, proving that marijuana has legitimate and practical medical applications. I ask that you not buy into fear mongering by pharmaceutical corporations whose profits stand to be impacted by legalizing marijuana, or by individuals who are reactionaries with limited understanding of the facts surrounding this substance. It is a substance, just like alcohol and tobacco, which does have some health risks, particularly if it is smoked. But there is no good reason to continue a failed policy of prohibition. Please support SB686. Mahalo
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