When looking at the current state of marijuana in the United States, it can sometimes seem like lawmakers and representatives are working against further legalization efforts. But, there are still many that are fighting for everyone’s right for medical and even recreational marijuana. Today we are featuring four amazing marijuana advocates that should get your attention, but most of all, your support.
As a former member of the Illinois House of Representatives, now currently the Cook County Commissioner, John Fritchey is one of the biggest advocates for marijuana legalization is his state and in the country. In 2013, Fritchey co-sponsored the bill resulting in Illinois’ medical marijuana program, and he was also a key player in the decriminalization of cannabis possession in his area. He has recently told the state that legal recreational marijuana could possibly bring over $500 million in tax revenue. So, why is he so passionate about the subject of marijuana?
John Fritchey recently admitted to being a medical marijuana patient. In a statement he released to the Chicago Tribune, Commissioner Fritchey said he has been a medical marijuana patient since May 2017, though chose not to disclose his ailment. On top of Commissioner Fritchey’s patient status, he is a known human rights advocate, fights for paid sick leave and parental leave, violence prevention, and is an animal rights activists.
Lynne Lyman is the director of the California State Drug Policy Alliance, where she is fighting to end the “War On Drugs,” and works to reform the criminal justice system since 2012. But, that isn’t where Lynne’s story begins. Before she was a proponent for marijuana, she worked in Massachusetts to reduce violence and reform the justice system. She assumed the role of Director of Justice and Prevention for the Executive Office of Public Safety for Massachusetts before moving to California.
Today, Lyman is one of the most prominent voices in marijuana policy nationwide. At the DPA, her main objectives are to decriminalize some types of drugs while increasing awareness and access to education.
Showing that marijuana legalization is a bipartisan issue, Republican Dana Rohrabacher has been an outspoken proponent of medical and recreational marijuana policy since early 2013. In a May 2014 op-ed in National Review, he argued that not only was marijuana prohibition a “colossal failure,” the prohibition of cannabis has incurred a number of undesirable costs upon free society, such as an increase in gang violence, soaring incarceration rates, unconstitutional seizure of private property through civil forfeiture, corruption and militarization of police forces, and negative impacts on minority communities.
Rohrabacher has called on his fellow Republicans to reconsider their stance on marijuana, and speaks openly about respect for the doctor-patient relationship. Rohrabacher has introduced marijuana legislation such as the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, and the Veterans Equal Access Act. In April 2016, Rohrabacher announced his endorsement of California’s Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
Perhaps one of the better-known advocates for marijuana, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been on the front-lines of marijuana advocacy. In 2017, Senator Gillibrand proposed the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect (CARERS) Act. This remarkable piece of legislation would allow states to create their own medical marijuana policy, give veterans access to medical marijuana, and would prevent the federal government from prosecuting doctors or patients who prescribe and take medical marijuana.
This past February, Senator Gillibrand co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act — an act to stop the federal War on Drugs. She continues to be a vocal advocate about racism in marijuana enforcement and is a stark opponent of Jeff Sessions’ regressive marijuana policy reformations.
How are your representatives working to give you access to medical and/or recreational marijuana? @MMDotCom would love to hear from you!