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Opening Arguments

Grand Old Pot

There might be an interesting evolution of "American opinion" unfolding:

While California's marijuana ballot initiative is garnering a lot of attention this election cycle, Gallup finds that nationally, a new high of 46% of Americans are in favor of legalizing use of the drug, and a new low of 50% are opposed. The increase in support this year from 44% in 2009 is not statistically significant, but is a continuation of the upward trend seen since 2000.

And there's an article in the current Newsweek about the increasing number of Republicans sneaking up on the idea of legalization:

As the ideals of the Tea Party's most vocal libertarians infiltrate the Republican ranks, and state and federal officials slash budgets even as they pump cash into an expensive war on drugs, some conservatives are making the case for legalizing marijuana.

[. . .]

Republican power broker Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, points out that legalization can make sense from a conservative perspective because it touches on issues of national security and fiscal prudence. “First, there is the mess that is Mexico. Narcoterrorism is made possible by our drug prohibition in the U.S. Then there is the cost of incarceration,” he says. Gary Johnson, the Republican former governor of New Mexico and a putative presidential candidate for 2012, says he believes that “Proposition 19 has the opportunity to be the domino that could bring about rational drug policy nationwide.”

Don't know about a "rational drug policy nationwide" anytime soon, but maybe we can at least have a more rational (i.e. less hysterical) debate about the issue.


Lewis Allen
Fri, 10/29/2010 - 8:52pm

The late, great, Bill Buckley was on the side of legalization. From a purely economic standpoint) , it makes a lot of sense.

tim zank
Sat, 10/30/2010 - 8:55am

Every action has a reaction, (or consequences if you will) and the "finished" product of legalized marijuana would probably be very different than what proponents imagine.

I don't think that usage would really increase or we'd see a nation of "stoned slackers" at all, in fact quite the opposite over a period of time. I think usage would actually go down over time.

When "legalized" think about the distribution & control system that will emerge and then consider the various agencies that will become involved from when the seed gets planted (FDA,USDA,HHS, all the way down to state, local & county agencies and the enormous cost of inspection,fencing, protecting, and surveillance) to harvesting, curing, inspecting, storing and shipping (all under multi jurisdictional control and inspection) to packaging and shipping and inspection again (like all foods & drugs) before hitting the store shelves. Then (just like cigarettes) you'll have taxes from every conceivable source added again at the retail level.

What happens next? Then you'll have another multi gazillion dollar intoxication enforcement dilemma, i.e. what levels are safe to drive, work, etc (take the current DUI numbers and at least triple them requiring more courts, lawyers, probation officials, it's endless).

Finally, even though marijuana is cool and considered a "liberal" and "harmless" substance right now, wait until the smoke nazi's get ahold of it (think tobacco) and start to push the laws on who can smoke it, when you can smoke it, where you can smoke it, how much you can smoke, etc. The odds are pretty good the anti smoking forces will make villains of pot smokers just as they have tobacco smokers.

I personally don't care if they decriminalize it (that actually may be best all around) or legalize it, I believe every adult has the right to alter their consciousness as they see fit, I'm just saying be careful what you wish for, you may end creating another government nanny behemoth you never imagined.

Bob G.
Sun, 10/31/2010 - 8:32am

Truer words were never spoken.