End Prohibition of Marijuana (Cannabis) – Addressing Utah Legislators
This is a letter that I wrote to Utah legislators on February 18th 2012, but I posted it on my other website and not on xCannabis. So in celebration of 4/20, Im posting it here.
My name is Ryan Thompson. I was born and raised in Utah. I grew up in Utah County. I bought my first home in Mapleton, Utah after marrying my wife 10 years ago. I started my first business in Utah and opened up a store front on Main street in Springville, Utah. I now have 3 children and I live in California.
I am still married to the same woman. I still am making progress in my career, and I own a retail business as well as a technology company. My kids are healthy and happy.
My family helped settle Beaver County when they arrived in the mid-1800’s. My family were very productive, they farmed their land, raised their children all of whom became productive citizens. Many of my family served their country in the military. Many of my family were and still are land owners and farmers. But all of them have been proud of working hard and providing for themselves.
I am writing you today to explain my dismay with Utah’s laws and legislation regarding marijuana.
As a youth I was arrested several times before the age of 19 for marijuana possession. Not sales or anything complicated. Just simple possession of small amounts of a plant that grows out of the ground like God intended.
These arrests, while I know are my own fault for choosing to possess an illegal substance have prevented me from serving my country like my father and grandfather and many ancestors did before them.
I have been troubled by this, and even though I am a self made man, and even though I made it through life to be successful and productive. Things could have been much worse for me.
When someone gets arrested and sentenced to jail for marijuana like so many do, there are a number of events that happen.
Teenagers like myself when I was arrested for marijuana, pay heavy fines, lose their drivers license and often serve time behind bars.
The troubles that comes with this strict punishment are many.
- The person that gets arrested for this has a record that sticks with them, especially during the tender young adult years when finding work is already difficult.
- The person that gets arrested for this often loses their drivers license preventing them from attaining work, or safely getting there. Often people have to drive to work anyway, and don’t have alternative means so they drive without a license which causes them more legal problems.
- The person that gets arrested for this often finds themselves behind bars. In my case as a teenager I served almost 8 months total for just marijuana possession.
This deteriorates the future of these fragile lives, when these lives could go on as normal without needing any punishments at all. Or if they truly did have a problem with these substances they could be put through treatment rather than jail or prison.
The problem with these types of punishments is that in jail or prison, these once naive and maybe even stupid kids go from being innocent and undefiled, to being hardened criminals, with new criminal contacts and a new criminal lifestyle.
I know that marijuana does not by itself inspire devious and criminal activity. Those behaviors come from being put through the criminal justice system, or they existed before without the use of marijuana.
It is well known now with all of the new science that marijuana is clearly not the “gateway drug”. Professor John Morgan and many others have released comprehensive studies on this. I recommend the book “Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts”.
I believe it is time to treat marijuana like alcohol or tobacco. Marijuana has no lethal dose, and there is no amount that can be consumed that can kill a person. Prohibiting natural and mostly safe substances like marijuana leads people to medicate with dangerous and deadly prescription medications.
Marijuana is an herb, it is not a drug. It is authorized by God in the Bible (read Genesis 1:29), it has many safe and practical applications. We need to start concerning ourselves as leaders and parents with public safety and harm reduction. Not severe punishments.
For example the Netherlands has been very tolerant of marijuana for over 25 years, and their usage rate is much lower than that of the USA. We have provided heavy penalties for marijuana for almost 80 years, and we lead the world in marijuana consumption still.
Please see the youtube video that I uploaded today @
Titled: Private Prisons and Land of the Free – How Prohibition is Profitable