Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Evans discusses marijuana reformation at UMass

The Cannabis Reform Coalition (CRC) hosted Richard Evans, an attorney from Northampton, on Monday night during their weekly meeting. Evans discussed his proposition for the legalization of marijuana and compared the prohibition of the substance with the history of prohibition of alcohol.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian
Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Evans, who recently submitted a proposed bill titled “The Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act,” spoke with the crowd about action that needs to be taken to make progress with the reformation of marijuana laws.

His presentation, titled “The Dry Decade: What cannabis law reformers can learn from alcohol’s reformers,” looked into the history of prohibition of alcohol and the eventual appeal.

In reference to the 18th Amendment, which prohibited several aspects of alcohol, Evans noted there was one that was missing.

“It says nothing there about possession of alcohol,” said Evans, pointing out that this contradiction would affect the results of the eventual repeal of the amendment.

Evans continued through the history of prohibition, discussing the major figures that contributed, as well that the organizations that affected the outcome.

Using the slide show as a foundation, Evans compared reformation of alcohol laws to the possibility of marijuana law reformations and listed objectives that should be completed.

The first several points to the audience were directly tied to the people involved.

“The voters, not the politicians, repealed alcohol prohibition,” he said. “It wasn’t about alcohol, it was about prohibition. Everyone knew how bad was for them, but knew that prohibition was a lot worse.”

Evans said marijuana laws only hinder all parties involved and that reformation could be beneficial.

“These laws needlessly blight so many lives, scrub taxpayers and divide us as a people,” he said.

He called the attempts at keeping consumption under control futile and said nothing is being accomplished, especially arresting individuals for possession.

“No matter how much money we throw at law enforcement, it’s never going to go away,” he said.

“The case we need to make is that marijuana prohibition is pernicious to us as a people…. [It] forces us to propagandize out children by not allowing us to acknowledge the difference between use and abuse,” he added.

Evans reassured that repeal can happened, and said it would happen as long as people supporting the cause followed certain rules, including cultivating resources, being prepared and having a strategic use of rhetoric.

As well as this advice, he said that the supports who smoke aren’t enough for the cause, and that they needed to convince those who don’t smoke about the benefits of reformation.

In closing, Evans said, “No one can deny the fact that marijuana is part of our culture.”

Evans is a former member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). In his proposed bill, possession, consumption and the sale of marijuana for people over 21 would be legalized. However, people would be required to possess a series of licenses and pay annual fees. Processing and cultivation fees and licenses would also be established as well as warnings on packaging.

The University of Massachusetts’ Cannabis Reform Coalition is a group dedicated to the reformation of marijuana laws. They are currently planning “Extravaganja,” an event on the Amherst Common to raise awareness about the legalization of marijuana, which will take place in April.

Tim Jones can be reached at [email protected].

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