The Arlington Green Party in an open letter to the Arlington Commonwealth Attorney Theo Stamos have asked her to stop prosecuting people caught with small amounts of marijuana in Arlington. She has prosecuted over 300 individuals over the past few years for marijuana possession, most of them young black and Latino men. The life of a person convicted of a felony is often ruined--federal student loans and Pell grants are prohibited, and a criminal record makes finding a job very difficult.
Greens nationwide advocate decriminalizing marijuana. A recent opinion poll from the Pew Institute indicates that nearly two-thirds of Americans favor legalization of marijuana, with three-quarters of Millennials, two-thirds of Gen Xers, and a majority of Baby Boomers in favor. Arlington residents are of the same mind: they want an end to prosecuting possession of small amounts of personal marijuana. Marijuana has been legalized in many states and Washington, DC. The use of marijuana is purely a private act, and affects no one except the user.
Arlington police and prosecutors should concentrate on crimes of violence and significant felonies, and not waste our public dollars jailing and prosecuting mostly youth caught with a marijuana cigarette. It costs about a hundred dollars a day to jail someone, and then ties up court and prosecutor's time to process a charge. The Arlington Commonwealth attorney should stop prosecuting, and ruining the lives of so many people caught with small amounts of marijuana for personal use.