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Opening Arguments

In between

Via Reason Online's Hit & Run, here's Rep. Barney Frank on his proposed marijuana decriminalization, sounding positively libertarian:

To those who say that the government should not be encouraging the smoking of marijuana, my response is that I completely agree. But it is a great mistake to divide all human activity into two categories: those that are criminally prohibited, and those that are encouraged. In a free society, there must be a very considerable zone of activity between those two poles in which people are allowed to make their own choices as long as they are not impinging on the rights, freedom, or property of others.

"Allowed to make their own choices as long as they are not impinging on the rights, freedom, or property of others." What a concept.



Phil Marx
Sun, 04/20/2008 - 1:34am

I believe America's War on drugs creates far more innocent victims than if we would legalize drugs. The only people who have been stopped from using drugs are instead setting in jail, so we certainly haven't help them any. But our laws have turned what should simply be an unhealthy habit for people who freely choose to engage in it into a criminal enterprise that destroys the lives and property of innocent persons.

Harl Delos
Sun, 04/20/2008 - 10:59am

I'll agree with you that the war on drugs is incompatible with the freedoms we should have in a democracy, that the war on drugs is unwinnable even if winning were desirable, and that the social and economic costs of waging the war on drugs have been ruinous.

Drug abuse, after all, cures drug abuse. Think of it as evolution in action.

But I don't want drugs completely legal. It's bad enough to get a coughing fit while walking through an area that's supposed to be no-smoking, but getting high involuntarily is not acceptable.

If we modified the "assault" law so as to define smoking where others have to breathe your smoke as assault, with a $100 fine the first time, and 3 days in jail for repeat offenses?

Marie Antoinette said, "Let 'em eat cake". I say "Let 'em bake brownies".

Bob G.
Mon, 04/21/2008 - 8:42am

I suppose decriminalization would work well only if people could prove that they CAN be RESPONSIBLE citizens all.

Haven't seen too much of that around lately...
And it seems to be getting worse over time...

I'm not quite ready for that 2nd hand high either.



Phil Marx
Wed, 04/23/2008 - 3:22am

I do not think Marijuana is any more harmful than alcohol and I think it should be legalized. Legalizing stronger drugs was not something I advocated years ago. But people who want to get high will do so regardless of the law. The only ones not getting high are the ones setting in a jail cell. They are of no more utility to either themselves or society by being sober and incarcerated than they would be if they were still free but stoned.

But our government