“We can rebuild our roads, upgrade our ports, and unclog our commute,” President Obama remarked in his 2014 State of the Union, “because in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.” There’s no doubt that mobility is an essential part of modern life in a global economy. Work, school, and leisure are all grounded in travel. But the federal government is not the key to increased mobility, lessened congestion, and more access to jobs. Rather, the US can create more jobs and improve its transportation infrastructure by reducing the federal government’s burden through privatizing its outdated air-traffic control system, investing in bus service over expensive trains, reforming highways, and encouraging private transportation solutions.
This month, the DC Council voted 11-1 to decriminalize marijuana possession. The only vote against the bill was Councilmember Yvette Alexander’s, who claimed that removing criminal penalties would be “sending the message that it’s OK to smoke.” This all-too-common talking point needs to be put to rest. Not only does reform not promote drug use, it sends a far better message than continuing the life-destroying War on Drugs.
If signed by Mayor Gray, who has already expressed his support, DC’s decriminalization law would be one of the most progressive in the country. Rather than face arrest and possible jail time, people caught with under an ounce of marijuana would have it confiscated and pay a $25 fine. Small-time possession would remain illegal, but as a civil offense rather than criminal; the production, sale, and possession of over an ounce would remain a criminal offense.