By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp, CNDP Director
Illinois State Capitol Uploaded by AlbertHerring [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The leaders of the Community Renewal Society
(CRS) have just voted to support legislation to decriminalize marijuana
in Illinois this year. There are two reasons why this is significant. First, CRS is one of the most powerful faith-based organizations in Illinois and a growing presence in the state capital. CRS support will really matter.
Second, the CRS decision tells us that current drug policy is clearly seen as a failure, even where it is most visible, namely in communities of color. Many congregations which support CRS are located in Chicago neighborhoods burdened by poverty and violence. Everyday residents see how drugs have devastated their communities. Drug use breeds violence, destroys families, and ruins individual lives. So why decriminalize marijuana? More broadly, why should one ever support a policy that seems to condone drug use?
There are several key points.