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Opening Arguments

Weed wackos

Hey, dudes, bet you thought "hip right-winger" was an oxymoron:

DENVER (AP) — It's not all hippies backing November's marijuana legalization votes in Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

Appealing to Western individualism and a mistrust of federal government, activists have lined up some prominent conservatives, from one-time presidential hopefuls Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul to Republican-turned-Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.

"This is truly a nonpartisan issue," said Mark Slaugh, a volunteer for the Colorado initiative who is based in Colorado Springs, which has more Republicans than anywhere else in the state.

"States' rights! States' rights!" Slaugh cried as he handed out flyers about the state's pot measure outside a rally last month by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Quite a few passing Republicans took the flyer.

"It's fiscally prudent. It would be taxed, regulated, monitored. It makes a lot of sense to Republicans," he said.

Most Republicans still oppose legalization. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney vows to enforce federal law. When Ryan told a Colorado Springs TV station in September that medical marijuana was "up to Coloradans to decide," his campaign quickly backtracked and said he agreed with Romney.

Notice the presence of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson on the list. I think the writer of this Associated Press story is a little confused about the makeup of  the political right. This is a libertarian cause, not a conservative one, and libertarians drift toward the GOP only because its slightly less government-happy than the Democratic Party.

And I know I've said this before, but you're either for states' rights as an important principle of federalism or you're not. It's not seemly to go back and forth on it depending on how you feel about the particular issue. Paul Ryan got it right the first time.