Mid-May Update
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Mid-May Update
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

State legislators in Rhode Island are considering whether their state should become the fifth in the nation to legalize marijuana. On May 10, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Providence, Thomas J. Tobin, issued a public commentary in opposition. In this newsletter, I share with you my letter in response.

In addition, we are pleased to share a reflection by Rev. Edwin Robinson, Director of Urban Strategies and Live Free for Faith in Texas, who attended last month's harm reduction trip to Vancouver.

As Memorial Day approaches, the U.S. House of Representatives will be debating the Veterans Equal Access Act. This bill lifts the ban that prevents doctors who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs from discussing medical marijuana with their patients in states where it is legal. Please use our Take Action vehicle to send a message to your U.S. Representative in support of this act.

Rev. Alexander E. Sharp
Executive Director, Clergy for a New Drug Policy
Marijuana in Rhode Island:
An Open Letter the Bishop
By Rev. Alexander E. Sharp 

Dear Bishop Tobin,

On May 10 you asserted in a public commentary that all drug use is sinful and immoral. You urged state legislators to reject the legalization of marijuana. As a member of the Protestant clergy, I reach a very different conclusion.

We read the same Bible, worship the same God, and seek to follow the teachings of Jesus. What, then, explains where and why we differ?

My Christian faith tells me that punishment and “tough love” are rarely the best way to change behavior. We are most likely to reach others when we respond to them with care, compassion, mercy, respect, and honesty. This is what Jesus did. Condemnation was not His instrument of change.

We share the common purpose of reducing the harm of drugs in our society, but we differ on the means. Your commentary is clever and engaging, but ultimately it is outdated and wrong.
Read More
"Treating People Like Humans": A Reflection on Vancouver
By Rev. Edwin Robinson

"At the end of the day, [this is] what harm reduction is: instead of treating people like animals, we decide to treat people like human beings, regardless of what their addiction is, what their situation is. ‘I’m going to treat people like humans.’

So what sort of world would we be in if we actually all treated people like human beings?"
Read More
Take Action

Contact your U.S. Representative to support veterans' access to medical marijuana.

Sign Our Religious Declaration
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