Here’s a new group — clergy — coming out in support of Proposition 205, Arizona’s effort to re-legalize cannabis.
We are clergy in Arizona united in our support of Proposition 205. This measure will regulate, tax, and control marijuana like alcohol. It will limit legal use to adults 21 years of age or older and generate tens of millions of dollars for public schools and education programs annually.
As clergy, we have the responsibility and the credibility to talk about what policies serve our community best. One does not have to use marijuana – or even approve of marijuana – to see that our current laws are not working, nor are they, in our view, just.
In Arizona, taxpayers spend millions of dollars annually to arrest, prosecute, cite and process thousands of people — disproportionately Latinos and African-Americans — for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Over 150,000 adults have been arrested for marijuana possession in Arizona since 2005. These arrests, even when they do not lead to incarceration, ruin lives.
. . .
As we seek to teach compassion and love, it seems inconsistent to support, in cases of private personal adult marijuana possession, the use of police, guns, and courts. The faith community, parents, peers, counselors, and educators are the appropriate means to address this kind of personal behavior.
We should work to make our communities safer. Illegal marijuana sales are the foundation for criminal markets that operate in every community in our state. When people, both old and young, seek to purchase marijuana in the underground market, they are often exposed to – and are encouraged to purchase – far more dangerous substances.
We need to break the link between marijuana and more dangerous drugs. And we can do so by shifting sales of marijuana out of the criminal market and into regulated businesses that check ID’s for age and generate tax revenue for needed services.
Let’s look at the list of who has signed-on:
We urge all voters in Arizona to support Proposition 205.
Rev. Sherman Fort
Senior Pastor, Canaan Missionary Baptist Church
Rev. Terry Sims
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Sunrise
Rev. Bart Smith
Pastor, St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church
Rev. Warren Stewart, Jr.
Lead Pastor, Church of the Remnant
Rabbi Dr. Schmuly Yanklowitz
President and Dean, Valley Beit Midrash
Rev. Jim Wiltbank
Pastor, St. Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church
Rev. Alexander E. Sharp
Clergy for a New Drug Policy
Learn more about Arizona’s Prop 205
[image: Arizona Natural Selections]
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