Major U.S. Religions Advocate Marijuana Decriminalization

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Major U.S. Religions Advocate Marijuana Decriminalization

Postby palmspringsbum » Tue Sep 26, 2006 4:48 pm

The Religious News Service wrote:The Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative

For Immediate Release: September 25, 2006

New Oxford Press Book Reveals:

Major U.S. Religions Advocate Marijuana Decriminalization


Contact: IDPI Executive Director Charles Thomas, author of two chapters . . . 301-938-1577

In a new marijuana policy book edited by best-selling academic author Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., two chapters about religious denominations’ opinions reveal substantial support for less punitive marijuana laws. Pot Politics: Marijuana and the Costs of Prohibition, just released by Oxford University Press, is the first book to compile the official marijuana policy positions of dozens of the largest religious groups in the United States.

Religious bodies officially endorsing the removal of criminal penalties for marijuana possession include the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), and Central Conference of American Rabbis. The Unitarian Universalist Association advocates regulating marijuana just like alcohol. More than 20 others support policy changes such as allowing the medical use of marijuana or repealing mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

Two chapters in the new book summarize and quote from the marijuana-related positions of the 25 largest Christian denominations in the United States, as well as Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist groups. Several scientific public opinion polls are also cited, along with the opinions of prominent religious individuals.

“There’s a myth of consensus that all religions support tough marijuana laws, but my research reveals otherwise,” explains Charles Thomas, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative. “Most denominations, even if they explicitly oppose marijuana use, believe that our current laws are too harsh. There are nearly 800,000 marijuana arrests in the United States each year, most for personal use. It’s time for change.”

Two additional chapters by other authors also present ethical and moral perspectives on these controversial laws. Sixteen other authors have contributed chapters to Pot Politics, on topics including: drug testing; economic consequences of prohibition; marijuana laws abroad; media reporting on marijuana issues; drug education; and school policies.

Book editor Mitch Earleywine also wrote the 2002 Oxford-published Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence, an academic best-seller. To obtain a review copy of Dr. Earleywine’s new policy book, Pot Politics, contact publicist Victor Gulotta at 617-630-9286.

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