Marijuana and Our State -Marihuana y Nuestro Estado

By Maximilian Eyle

We are in an era of change: marijuana prohibition has existed for 80 years but is on its way out. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska were the first states to legalize marijuana with similar regulations to alcohol, and evidence overwhelmingly shows that marijuana is the safer of the two. These states together have earned nearly one billion dollars in tax revenue, while the black market for marijuana has disappeared. In November, Massachusetts, Maine, California, and Nevada did the same and legalized marijuana for recreational adult use. This sensible movement began on the west coast but has arrived in the east coast. It could be that New York will be the next state to legalize marijuana, in large part due to the efforts of a man called Joel Giambra and an organization called NY Grows.

Mr. Giambra was the County Executive in Buffalo from 2000 to 2007. He noticed the corruption and disaster that was marijuana prohibition. Erie County and all of New York spend huge amounts of resources to fight a war that is impossible to win. Mr. Giambra also saw that the police concentrate largely on the black and Hispanic communities to a greater extent than the white communities. These groups use marijuana in equal rates, but there are more than double the amount of Hispanic prisoners than white ones behind bars today - a clear form of institutionalized racism. His experience in government taught him that marijuana prohibition has been an enormous disaster. Now, with a group of lawyers, elected officials, economists, doctors, and other professionals in our state, Giambra has created a movement called NY Grows. The objective is to adopt a system of legalization and regulation of marijuana in New York. “In total, we could save more than a billion dollars in savings and new revenue opportunities each year,” says Giambra, “we have to reinvest this money in our infrastructure.” Giambra explains that New York is number 45 in the United States in overall infrastructure quality. “Our streets, bridges, and schools are crumbling due to lack of funding, but we continue to spend money fighting marijuana – why?”

There already exists a bill in the New York State Senate to legalize and regulate marijuana with a minimum age for purchase and other rules. This legislative season, our government could vote to approve it. But many politicians are afraid to support legalization. Prohibition has existed for so many years that many people have grown accustomed to its injustices. Therefore, it is important to express your opinion to your local elected officials. The NY Grows website (www.nygrows.org) has many resources, including news, a petition for legalization, and a page that automatically sends an email to your representatives after you’ve entered your address. We have to speak up and show that we are tired of old and ineffective laws, and are ready to embrace a more modern and effective marijuana policy.

 

Por Maximilian Eyle

Estamos en una época de cambio: la prohibición de marihuana que ha existido hace 80 años se ha empezado acabar. Colorado, Washington, Oregón, y Alaska eran los primeros estados que legalizaron marihuana con regulaciones parecidas a alcohol, y la evidencia muestra que marihuana es la droga más seguro de las dos. Estos estados juntos han ganado casi un billón de dólares por los impuestos de las ventas, mientras el mercado negro de marihuana se ha desaparecido. En noviembre, Massachusetts, Maine, California, y Nevada hicieron igual y legalizaron marihuana para el uso recreacional de adultos. Este movimiento prudente empezó en la costa oeste pero ha llegado ya a la costa este. Puede ser que Nueva York sea el próximo estado que legalizará marihuana por las esfuerzas de un hombre se llama Joel Giambra y una organización se llama NY Grows.

Sr. Giambra era el ejecutivo del condado Erie entre 2000 y 2007. Se dio cuenta de la corrupción y fracaso que es la prohibición de marihuana. El Condado Erie y todo de Nueva York estaba gastando un montón de recursos para hacer una guerra sin la posibilidad de ganar. Sr. Giambra vio también que la policía concentra más en las comunidades negras e latinas que las comunidades blancas. Los grupos usan marihuana igual, pero hay más que doble la cantidad de prisioneros latinos que blancos. Es una forma racismo institucional. Su experiencia en el gobierno le enseñó que la prohibición de marihuana ha sido un desastre enorme. Ahora, con un grupo de abogados, políticos, economistas, médicos, y otros profesionales en nuestra estado, Giambra ha creado un movimiento se llama NY Grows. El objetivo es para adoptar un sistema de legalización y regulación de marihuana en Nueva York. “En total, podemos ahorrar más que un billón dólares cada año por los impuestos de las ventas y otros ahorros,” dice Giambra, “tenemos que reinvertir este dinero en la infraestructura.” Giambra explica que Nueva York es número 49 en los Estados Unidos en calidad de infraestructura. “Nuestras calles, puentes, y escuelas están estropeados por una falta de dinero, pero seguimos la prohibición – por qué?”

Ya existe una proposición en la asamblea y también el senado de Nueva York para legalizar y regular marihuana con una edad mínimo de comprar, y otras reglas. Ésta temporada legislativa, nuestro gobierno podría votar para aprobarla. Pero muchos políticos tienen miedo a apoyar legalización. La prohibición ha existo para tantos años que mucha gente ha vuelto estar acostumbrada a la injusticia. Por eso, es importante expresar tu opinión a sus políticos locales. La página web de NY Grows (www.nygrows.org) tiene muchos recursos, incluyendo noticias, una petición para legalización, y una página que envía un email a tus representantes locales después de poner tu dirección. Tenemos que mostrar que estamos harto con las leyes antiguas e inefectivas, y estamos listos para adoptar un sistema más moderno y eficaz.

Panorama Hispano is the regional news and information newspaper for Hispanic and other diverse communities.

US Hispanics are now the largest ethnic minority in the United States numbering 54.2 million as of July 2014. Serving: Buffalo, Rochester, Fredonia, Niagara Falls, NY and Erie, PA. Outside our Market area: Visit our affiliate at: http://www.impremedia.com/

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