Video: Time to legalize marijuana?

posted at 10:15 am on April 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Nick Gillespie at Reason TV gives three reasons for the US to legalize and regulate marijuana on the same basis as alcohol. Think of this as a kitchen-sink presentation, as Nick gives a smorgasbord of motivations. Think the government needs more revenue? Taxes could net as much as $6 billion a year, and ending prohibition will save another $8 billion. He also uses a traditional libertarian argument, as well as the pessimistic fatalist argument:

1. The tax revenue and law enforcement savings. A 2005 cost-benefit analysis done by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron found that legalizing marijuana and taxing it similar to alcohol would generate over $6 billion in new revenue and save nearly $8 billion in direct law enforcement costs. Pot is already the biggest cash crop in many states; bringing it into the open market would pump all sorts of energy into the economy.

2. It’s going to happen anyway, so why delay the inevitable? Increasing numbers of Americans realize that pot prohibition is an ineffective and costly policy. A 2009 poll by Zogby found that 52 percent of Americans agreed that marijuana should be taxed and regulated like booze. A Field Poll last year of California residents, who will vote on a legalization ballot initiative in the fall, found that 56 percent wanted legalization. Other polls show historically high percentages favoring legalization. In a world of busted budgets, it’s crystal clear that spending time and energy policing marijuana is not worth it.

3. Keep Your Laws Off Our Bodies. Never mind that by virtually every measure, pot is safer and less than disruptive than booze. Pot prohibition in the 1930s was the result of hysteria, not serious threats to society. We own our bodies and should be free to eat, drink, and smoke what we want. And to take responsibility for our actions, whether we’re straight or we’re stoned.

In my mind, the only fully legitimate argument among the three is the last. I don’t think the federal government needs more revenue, and I’m a little surprised to hear a libertarian offer that as a feature rather than a bug.  The reduction in law-enforcement cost is a good argument, but that’s more of a side effect from the third argument rather than the first.  After all, additional taxes and regulation will bring its own government costs.  Inevitability in this case is rather weak; when it’s legalized, it will be legalized, but that doesn’t necessarily make it inevitable.  If it happens, we can then set those effective and efficient controls.

I agree, though, that marijuana intake is a personal decision in the same sense as alcohol.  The two don’t differ much in terms of danger to the user or those around the user, and alcohol is more toxic.  While we’re marching in the streets to demand an end to nanny-state policies, we should at least reconsider this 72-year-old nanny-state anachronism.


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Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 6:55 PM

How do you know what my “passions” are?

I’d personally like to see the size and scope of the federal government slashed by about 95%…for a start. Thus, I don’t want a federal tax on any “sins”, including marijuana, in the event it is ever legalized.

Fatwa Arbuckle on April 19, 2010 at 7:03 PM

That is a sound argument for not buying from illegal trade. However, it is not an arguement for federal authority to ban something.

exception on April 19, 2010 at 6:53 PM

It’s a sound enough argument not to legalize that which is already banned. Criminals on both ends of the deal will remain criminals. The peddler will go into some other illicit activity requiring cops and prisons and death while the user will continue to decide which laws he/she will obey on a moment-by-moment basis.

shuzilla on April 19, 2010 at 7:03 PM

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 6:56 PM

Which you probably would have said he was unqualified to do if you’d caught him enjoying some of the smoking mixtures he exchanged with Jefferson. . . .

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM

The peddler will go into some other illicit activity requiring cops and prisons and death

shuzilla on April 19, 2010 at 7:03 PM

You really got a hang up on this whole ‘kill all the whiny lawbreakers’ kick, dontcha.

Been watching a bit too much Spartacus on Showtime have we?

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:06 PM

So I take it you are outraged by the righty pundits expressing outrage over lefty food fascism while there’s terrorism going on? You see there are people capable of being passionate about several issues at a time.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:00 PM

If salt rules were their passion in life, yeah, they’d be idiots. Obviously, though, you’re trying to twist that into some kind of statement on multitasking, but when the buzz wears off, you’ll see that’s not what I said.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:07 PM

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 6:56 PM

Its becoming more and more obvious that “social cons” are not conservative at all. They LOVE the government intruding in on people’s lives, they absolutely LOVE it. Social cons LOVE government control over the citizens, as long as the government is controlling the people the way they like. Abortion, use the government to force women not to have them. Drugs, use the government to force people not to use them. Sex, use the government to teach the people not to have it, unless you are married. We need to stop treating these people as if they are conservatives, they aren’t. They are just as statist as the liberals, its just that their goals are different.

So answer me this: What right does the government have to tell me what I can put into my body while I am inside of my own house? If you answer anything other than, “their is nothing in the constitution that justifies this”, then you are NOT a conservative and you are nothing but a republican statist.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:09 PM

How do you know what my “passions” are?

Fatwa Arbuckle on April 19, 2010 at 7:03 PM

What makes you think I know or want to know what your passions are? Stop flirting with me. It’s creepy.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:10 PM

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:09 PM

Bravo.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:07 PM

Sorry but the twist is all yours. Many righty pundits are pretty passionate about left trying to regulate what we eat. You think they idiots I think they have an good-spirited allergy on government dictating their eating habits.

Also I’m not sure your buzz will wear off any time soon.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:13 PM

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:10 PM

You made a claim; I simply asked you to back it up. Which you are either unwilling to do or cannot do.

Stop flirting with me.

Put down the bong, maaaaan.

Fatwa Arbuckle on April 19, 2010 at 7:16 PM

If you answer anything other than, “their is nothing in the constitution that justifies this”, then you are NOT a conservative and you are nothing but a republican statist.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:09 PM

First of all, I don’t think anyone who can spell is going to be able to meet your quote standard, but even so, “Team Tax It” really has no room to talk about how conservative people are. You should lecture those on your own side first.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:17 PM

If this was a good idea it would have already been done by Clinton. And another thing, Mary Jane is as addictive as alcohol. Look at the TV specials on this topic. The people are gutting houses, backing brownies, acting like absolute crazed addicts to peddle and grow the stuff. Its like spores from some kind of horror movie. The drug is spreading itself in people to spread itself. Hw about someone like myself? I dont drink. I have no desire to smoke this crap nor have my kids see me smoke it after all these years of foghting to keep them off of it. Its a dumming-down drug. It will get out of hand. The only people franticly promoting it are those smoking it currently. Yes it may reduce stress, but the source of the stress if the problem, not compounsing it with lighting up MJ.

johnnyU on April 19, 2010 at 4:57 PM

“Reefer Madness” now available on DVD and Blu-Ray!

katy the mean old lady on April 19, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Fatwa Arbuckle on April 19, 2010 at 7:16 PM

I made no claim. I have no bong. If you don’t comprehend the meaning of the word “if,” then I would suggest you open every window in your home right now.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:18 PM

It’s a sound enough argument not to legalize that which is already banned. Criminals on both ends of the deal will remain criminals. The peddler will go into some other illicit activity requiring cops and prisons and death while the user will continue to decide which laws he/she will obey on a moment-by-moment basis.

shuzilla on April 19, 2010 at 7:03 PM

That is demonstrably false, and has not happened historically. What new crimes will someone who grows and smokes his own weed move on to?

And where does Congresss get the authority to ban it? When did that power begin?

exception on April 19, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Its becoming more and more obvious that “social cons” are not conservative at all. They LOVE the government intruding in on people’s lives, they absolutely LOVE it. Social cons LOVE government control over the citizens, as long as the government is controlling the people the way they like.

Unfortunately you’re right. Not too long ago I would have dismissed it as a lefty propaganda. Notice also how closely their arguments resemble lefty talking points on whatever the hell they want to ban from speech to salt.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:13 PM

If you have to put words into my mouth to feel like you won something, just put “you won” in it and get this over with. I don’t have any passion whatsoever for arguing with the obtuse.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:21 PM

I made no claim.

Fair enough…you merely insinuated.

And FYI…my windows are open; it’s a lovely evening here in Gwinnett Cty., GA.

Fatwa Arbuckle on April 19, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Which you probably would have said he was unqualified to do if you’d caught him enjoying some of the smoking mixtures he exchanged with Jefferson. . . .

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM

Judging from the idiots i’ve seen getting stoned, i’d say anybody’s qualified.

So answer me this: What right does the government have to tell me what I can put into my body while I am inside of my own house? If you answer anything other than, “their is nothing in the constitution that justifies this”, then you are NOT a conservative and you are nothing but a republican statist.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:09 PM

Hate to break it to you, but i’m not a social con, thanks for showing your bigotry against Christians though. And if government doesn’t have a right to tell you what to put in your body, then you apparently want all drugs legal. Let us know what it’s like when your kid/sister/brother/whatever dies from a heroin overdose.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Unfortunately you’re right. Not too long ago I would have dismissed it as a lefty propaganda. Notice also how closely their arguments resemble lefty talking points on whatever the hell they want to ban from speech to salt.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:20 PM

It’s much more than just the talking points; they rely on the same perversions of the Commerce Clause. The constitution doesn’t give the authority for the types of control the left and right statists want. Before Wickard, etc., the constitution needed to be amended to ban liqour.

exception on April 19, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Fair enough…you merely insinuated.

Fatwa Arbuckle on April 19, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Paranoia really is a way of life for you people.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:27 PM

And if government doesn’t have a right to tell you what to put in your body,

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM

If it does, then what are the limits to this power?

exception on April 19, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Let us know what it’s like when your kid/sister/brother/whatever dies from a heroin overdose.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Guns are legal. Let us know what it’s like when your kid/sister/brother/whatever dies from a gun accident.

Oh, that’s not a common occurrence? Strange, with hundreds of millions of guns in this country. Gee, maybe it has something to do with individual responsibility. Gosh, maybe, as conservatives who focus on the individual rather than the collective, we could try assuming the individual is smart enough to make their own choice about doing a drug…you know, like we do with cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, a million different things at the pharmacist…

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Yes, I did make a mistake on that sentence. Good observation. It is odd to see libertarians arguing to tax something. When you look at the situation as it is now however, a new tax is actually a gigantic step towards liberty. Also, the only way that cannabis will be legalized is if the states have an incentive to make a change. Taxing cannabis might be enough to incentivise states to change. It is in the best interest for all to bring an underground economy with no regulations into the light and stop arresting adults for consuming a substance in their own home, and if taxes is what it takes to have that happen, then you will ironically see libertarians supporting taxing the substance.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Guns are legal. Let us know what it’s like when your kid/sister/brother/whatever dies from a gun accident.

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Not to mention shootouts between beer distributors over turf.

exception on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Paranoia really is a way of life for you people.

What sort of a “people” do you suppose me to be?

Fatwa Arbuckle on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

You should lecture those on your own side first.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:17 PM

that’s what we’re doing. If you pay attention, it might actually be worthwhile.

Try ejecting overboard the useless (and inaccurate) meme that legalization=lefty agenda. Unfortunately, William F. Buckley isn’t around to tell you how way off base you are with that simplistic bs.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Wouldn’t this post have been more appropriate on 420? That said, I don’t know enough to care about pot legalization. There are so many bigger issues out there. Here’s one: secure the damn border.

AnotherOpinion on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Guns are legal.

Guns are necessary, weed isn’t.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

What sort of a “people” do you suppose me to be?

Fatwa Arbuckle on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Paranoid.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:32 PM

News flash to shoe guy – there is more than one way to skin a cat, my friend. So, and I’ll let you off the hook in that you don’t have to explain any ’strange attractant’ quantum mathematics or anything, please explain how someone who grows a plant in their backyard, closet, or attic, then lights the plant they grew on fire, and imbibe the combustion product, in any way, shape or form suddenly causes Mexicans to suddenly drop dead hundreds, if not thousands of miles away?

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:01 PM

You seem to think that allowing pot to be grown at home for personal consumption, while keeping all other trafficing and use ILLEGAL, will somehow lead to a significant drop in illicit trafficing. It won’t, because most users won’t be growing their own, and apparently none will give a sh!t if they run out of ther personal stash and have to turn to the street vendor since they haven’t given a damn up to now.

If the aim is really to take away the profit motive, then all sources must be legalized. Pot doesn’t cost that much to grow and import, so home-grown weed will not be able to undercut, and therefore make irrelevant, the illicit international trade in pot. You’d have to practically give away legaly-grown pot to kill the criminal syndication, in which case the promised tax revenue goes bye bye.

You won’t get rid of the crime and violence that goes with the trade by skinning the cat your way. You’ll only succeed in constructing a legal marketplace within which the illicit product, sold at a smaller margin, can hide.

And if you did what was required to kill the illegal trafficing of pot, you’d just see those criminals moving on to their next enterprise. No reduction in police. No reduction in prison cells. Just the next phase of crime in America run by the same murderers we’ve always had.

shuzilla on April 19, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:21 PM

The buzz you having must be strong so I’ll just refresh your memory: you made pretty simple and dumb statement that if you are passionate (“life revolves around”) about such insignificant stuff as imaginary beer rights or real pot rights when there is more significant stuff going on, you’re an idiot. And now for no apparent reason you’re backing away from it. Whatever.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Guns are necessary, weed isn’t.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Necessity arguments are the enemy of freedom.

exception on April 19, 2010 at 7:33 PM

I’m with Ed on this – the third argument is the only principled approach in my mind. Governmental intrusion into personal lifestyle choices stops where those choices directly infringe on the fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of others. I despise abortion, for example, because I believe it’s murder, but “when life begins” is still fundamentally a theological question, that government has no constitutional role even addressing. Therefore, govt “hands off my body” is the guiding principle. So consistency requires that the same principle applies to one’s decisions about self-medication, or any other personal health-related decision. (Another reason obamacare is such a hideous abomination.)

I guess that makes me pretty libertarian on this.

Fishoutofwater on April 19, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Hate to break it to you, but i’m not a social con, thanks for showing your bigotry against Christians though.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM

So, you’re just a garden variety statist. Glad we cleared that up. And thanks for showing your willingness to throw the bigotry brush cause it’s about all you got left in your statist, prohibitionist bag.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:36 PM

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Where did Christians come into this at all? Do you describe yourself as a conservative? Also, I would not mind if all drugs were legal. It is up to ME to decide if I want to consume them or not. If YOUR kid brother or sister is dying of a heroin overdose, its because your PARENTS didn’t do their job. The government is not your parent, as much as you statist want it to be. I don’t need the government to tell me not to do heroin. I know the consequences. If an adult feels like wrecking his life, none of my business. As soon as he tries to steal from me or others to support his drug habit, THEN it becomes by business and the business of the government to give him the HARSHEST penalty allowable. If someone wants to come home after work and smoke a little canabis, what the EFF business is it of mine or the government? If he smokes it at a bar, it becomes my business and the business of the government.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Paranoid.

Oh noes…you found me out! You’re probably having my IP address traced even as I type this!111!

Fatwa Arbuckle on April 19, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Just wanted to add, read the piece on Hotair about the Hummer and the ability to make stupid decisions. I think it fits in fairly well with this entire argument. As soon as the government begins to regulate against making stupid decisions, or what IT considers stupid decisions, liberty for everyone is lost.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:38 PM

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:30 PM

If you can’t argue it on the merits of legalization without a bribe to the states, though, how strong can your argument be? You think a liberal take on taxation is the only way forward? That can’t be right. Would you be willing to pay the government every time you pray or enjoy free speech? I wouldn’t.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:42 PM

AnotherOpinion on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

You know one of the main reasons that their is so much crime and sheer people crossing the border? They are running up cannabis from Mexico to the US.

On a separate note, I find it hilarious that “conservatives”, or in reality statist republicans, argue for a massive military with presences in countries all over the world for “national defense”, when the border remains completely open. And then the sheer mention of bringing the troops home and having them actually “defend the nation” is met with cries of being soft on national defense and a crazy person.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:42 PM

oops, I hit the “submit” key before editing for clarity. Bottom line is, if I don’t want the gov’t dictating personal lifestyle choices in one area, I can’t support their intrusion into other areas, regardless of my personal feelings or beliefs about it.

Fishoutofwater on April 19, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:21 PM
Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:33 PM

You won!

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:44 PM

So, you’re just a garden variety statist. Glad we cleared that up. And thanks for showing your willingness to throw the bigotry brush cause it’s about all you got left in your statist, prohibitionist bag.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:36 PM

Haha, yeah, im a big bad statist and you’re a martyr for freedom, for realz!11!

Where did Christians come into this at all?

Um, when you threw your little fit about social cons, hard to keep track of these things when you got a buzz i guess.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 7:44 PM

If someone wants to come home after work and smoke a little canabis, what the EFF business is it of mine or the government? If he smokes it at a bar, it becomes my business and the business of the government.

So you would be against marijuana cafes and you’re in favour of public smoking bans, that sort of thing?

aengus on April 19, 2010 at 7:45 PM

So answer me this: What right does the government have to tell me what I can put into my body while I am inside of my own house? If you answer anything other than, “their is nothing in the constitution that justifies this”, then you are NOT a conservative and you are nothing but a republican statist.
thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:09 PM

Wow the ultimate “I am nihilist hear me whine argument”. You would agree, I hope, that one of the principle duties of any Govt. is to protect its people. And to do that some laws are there to maintain order (like speeding) in and of itself speeding harms no one, but once you lose control of your vehicle and wreck money has to be spent to fix the situation, even if it is only to drag your carcass off the road and tow away your vehicle, someone has to pay for the services of some one to do that activity. So Govt has laws to regulate your speed in a given place and a requirement to have auto insurance in case you hurt some one else.
So to your “my body my house” argument, you decide one day that Drano is tasty and take a big swig. Your room mate comes home and finds you vomiting, bleeding, and generally sad. He calls 911 and an ambulance takes you to the hospital where you can be treated for your poor choice. As you have chosen so poorly to drink Drano you will be committed against your will and evaluated to see if you will continue to be a danger to yourself and others. The idea here is that normal people do not do such foolish things, so you might be a bit crazy and dangerous. At some pint you will be released to rejoin your fellow man and handed a bill, a rather large bill, for all of your treatment. Odds are you will not have the money to pay for it and after hounding you for a while the hospital will then bill the government for the lost cash. Since Govt does not earn money but only gets it by taking it from workers that means they will force me under penalty of law to cough of some of my labor to keep the hospital solvent for treating you and similarly minded people.
That is why you do no absolute freedom of your body, because you are a member of a community, with rights and RESPONSIBILITIES to that community. As a member of a community your actions affect others.
If you wish ultimate freedom form responsibility feel free to become a hermit absenting yourself from the rest of society and you can do as you please with out affecting anyone else.

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Bottom line, we are discussing legalizing an additional intoxicant. As if alcohol weren’t bad enough.
The only thing more stupid than continuing the ridiculous war on marijuana is legalizing it. Instead I propose a campaign to stigmatize pot in the same way that alcohol and tobacco have been treated.
Points:
1) How strong is the link between smoking pot and lung cancer? Remember legalization would increase smoking. What about secondhand smoke?
2) Workplace issues-discussed before-no acceptable use.
3) If pot + alcohol increases the likelihood of an accident when driving impaired then punish accordingly.
4) Acting stoned is only amusing or entertaining to other stoned people; and heavy use can leave you almost perpetually in that state. There has to be a social stigma in there somewhere.
5) How responsible of a parent can you be if you get stoned regularly? There should be Child Protection Services guidelines covering this.

Most of the other arguments on this thread have been rather superficial as if most of the posters realize what a loser of an argument this is.

mad scientist on April 19, 2010 at 7:48 PM

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Oh, the “Good and Welfare Clause”.

exception on April 19, 2010 at 7:48 PM

On a separate note, I find it hilarious that “conservatives”, or in reality statist republicans, argue for a massive military with presences in countries all over the world for “national defense”, when the border remains completely open.

They even allow terrorists (e.g. the Fort Dix Six) to come and go as they please. So the slogan “We’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” is not just a dubious propaganda claim, it is a damnable lie.

aengus on April 19, 2010 at 7:48 PM

You seem to think that allowing pot to be grown at home for personal consumption, while keeping all other trafficing and use ILLEGAL. . .

shuzilla on April 19, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Here, let me clear up that misconception for ya – that’s not my position at all – I’m for full up legalization, along with basic regulation, along the lines of what is currently done for cigarettes and alcohol.

If the aim is really to take away the profit motive, then all sources must be legalized. Pot doesn’t cost that much to grow and import, so home-grown weed will not be able to undercut, and therefore make irrelevant, the illicit international trade in pot. You’d have to practically give away legaly-grown pot to kill the criminal syndication, in which case the promised tax revenue goes bye bye.

Once again, so close, but not there. The ‘promised’ tax revenues, if you’ll refer to some of my posts a couple of page back, is a pipe dream, as it were – for the simple reason that those estimates are based on the currently perceived price levels, which are themselves wildly inflated due to the illicit nature of the product. There is already government manipulation of the market. Remove that manipulation, and the price would drop – precipitously. From hundreds of dollars an ounce to tens of dollars per pound – something more in line with the actual costs of production and transportation. So, the percentages of tax dollars, even with specific weight reference end retail ‘sin taxes’ attached – not a big pile of dough, relatively.

And with a realistic market driven price structure, yes, the criminal enterprises attracted by the outsized profits, will fall apart, because there won’t be wads of cash in International cannabis trafficking.

Now, as far as your ‘a leopard never changes his spots’ worldview that all criminals will always be criminals and they’ll just ratchet up the violence if they can’t make money (what, cause they’re bored?) – can’t help you with that – that is a deeply paranoid, myopic, and strained worldview you’ve got going on there. . .

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:49 PM

Guns are necessary, weed isn’t.

Necessary for you that is. Half of America thinks it’s not necessary to have it at home at all. In fact they think it’s dangerous to yourself and others, children may accidentally shot themselves. Only gun-addicts would support gun rights without any regard to consequences. Thus we should make posession of firearms illegal and throw all violators to jail.

See how easy it is. Just take anything you say in favour of prohibition, change drugs to guns and voila you already know what lefties will tell you.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:50 PM

As if alcohol weren’t bad enough.

mad scientist on April 19, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Thanks for your input, Carrie Nations. . .you’ve got quite the moral scold thing goin ON! Work it! Work it!

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Its just unrealistic. Alcohol is taxed, tobacco is taxed, cannabis would have to be taxed. I would love if it wasn’t, because I don’t like the government using “sin” taxes, but its unrealistic. I can easily argue the benefits of legalization without the need to mention taxation or the monetary benefits.

Non-violent offenders receive jail time for something that effected only themselves.

Cannabis is sold by dealers on a tight profit margin, and if they are selling any other drugs, they will almost always try and move the clients onto something with a higher profit margin, thus the birth of the “gateway drug” argument. Wouldn’t exist in a legalized environment.

Cannabis being illegal promotes illegal immigration from Mexico, with immigrant being offered passage or even being paid to bring product into the US.

Cannabis being illegal promotes the underground gang lifestyle, which endangers communities and police officers. Its illegality does nothing but contribute to violent crime in this country.

There are a few arguments without even mentioning the cost benefits of each.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Try ejecting overboard the useless (and inaccurate) meme that legalization=lefty agenda. Unfortunately, William F. Buckley isn’t around to tell you how way off base you are with that simplistic bs.
Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

So Buckley advocated legalization, so what? Give the guy a break, he was right most of the time, but he did go to Yale, so we should allow him to make a mistake or two with out hounding him like John Hess.

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Me: It’s a sound enough argument not to legalize that which is already banned. Criminals on both ends of the deal will remain criminals. The peddler will go into some other illicit activity requiring cops and prisons and death while the user will continue to decide which laws he/she will obey on a moment-by-moment basis.

That is demonstrably false, and has not happened historically. What new crimes will someone who grows and smokes his own weed move on to?

exception on April 19, 2010 at 7:20 PM

If it’s demonstrably false, then demonstrate. Don’t substitute criminals “who grow their own” for criminals who bind and execute cops to ensure everyone who doesn’t grow their own has unfettered access to it.

And where does Congresss get the authority to ban it? When did that power begin?

I’m not sure where Congress gets much of the power it thinks it has, to be honest. But, let’s cut to the chase, shall we? If the feds decriminalize pot, and the states stepped in to regulate, would you support the inevitable federal move to override the states’ desire to control pot in order to keep federal taxes rolling in, as a power given under the commerce clause?

See, if pot can trade across state borders then the feds have an excuse to regulate it. And if legal and actually making money they will end up protecting it over any and every state’s objections. Potheads will love that. Conservatives/states rights advocates will hate that.

shuzilla on April 19, 2010 at 7:55 PM

mad scientist on April 19, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Yes, if there is anything that can solve the problem of kids consuming cannabis, its the government coming out even stronger against it and trying to stigmatize it while its freely available for children to try due to the dubious morality of drug dealers and find out for themselves that government is lying to them about the extremity of the substance.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Some of the arguments mustered to defend an obviously harmful controlled substance are pretty pathetic.

So-called tax revenue arguments are weak at best, since the only way to get significant tax revenue would be to raise significant taxes, which would provide an immediate incentive to dodging the tax laws. A black market in pot would be remarkably similar in effect to the current … black market in pot. Plus, I think it’s fairly obvious that even if legalized, pot would still be highly regulated, giving further incentive to a black market. Instead of being “busted for possession,” you’d be “busted for violation of the Marijuana Legalization and Control Act.” But now, it would be the IRS after you as well.

The inevitability argument is no better. In fact, it’s essentially the same argument, leading to the same regulations and tax laws.

As for the argument about liberty, the same arguments apply to every illegal drug, so your first job is to demonstrate why marijuana should be legal while heroin and cocaine should not. If you claim that the government has no right to make any drug illegal, then you’re basically taking a nonsense position that merits no real response. As long as there are prescription drugs, there will always be illegal drugs. Public safety is something the government actually does have a legitimate interest in regulating. Controlled substances are controlled for a reason.

And please don’t waste your time with analogies to guns. Guns are not intoxicating, and the only long term effect associated with them is potential hearing loss.

Just say no.

tom on April 19, 2010 at 7:56 PM

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 7:46 PM

You know what if the left will ever come around to control political speech, ban unhealthy foods and God knows what else the only good thing that will come out of it is that every time you complain about the destruction of liberty you and your fellow statists will have to eat the same exact BS.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:59 PM

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Wait, was I supposed to take your rambling insanity realistically? Your drinking Drano analogy is moronic and even you knew by the end how stupid it sounded. If someone drinks Drano and goes to the hospital, they should NOT be committed against their will. How effing statist are some of you “conservatives”. If you want to kill yourself with Drano, go ahead. None of my business. You think its justified to imprison a person against their will in a mental institution and then charge the taxpayers for the bill? No wonder this country is so finished financially, the liberals are straight socialist while half of the republicans are just progressive statists.

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 8:00 PM

As for the argument about liberty, the same arguments apply to every illegal drug, so your first job is to demonstrate why marijuana should be legal while heroin and cocaine should not.

tom on April 19, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.

shuzilla on April 19, 2010 at 8:03 PM

and the only long term effect associated with them is potential hearing loss.

LOL yeah no big deal…

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 8:04 PM

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Actually I think what makes it unrealistic is the quality and sincerity of the arguments. I mean, people use it now regardless what the law is, so obviously there are plenty of people who don’t let things like legality get in their way. Obviously people who use it now don’t care all that much about its effect on illegal immigration and gang trouble, or they would demonstrate their concern by “suffering” without pot until those problems are gone. If I knew Frosted Flakes helped fund jihad, I think I could probably go without, and I certainly wouldn’t pretend to care about terrorism if I continued to enjoy a bowl every so often. And you know where I stand on the taxes. So, if it’s all just about convenience, as it seems to be, I’m not really seeing any sincere cause worth the effort — certainly nothing as grand as liberty.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Ed,

Where in the world is it legal now??? Yeah, Holland, been there done that and not impressed…Amsterdam is nothing to write home about…Socialism and drugs destroy young people, I’ve seen it…Yeah, you and others who post here in the privacy of your homes can handle it…I don’t think adolescents in this country need any more chemical stimulation. They need discipline…

Nozzle on April 19, 2010 at 8:10 PM

I’m not sure where Congress gets much of the power it thinks it has, to be honest. But, let’s cut to the chase, shall we? If the feds decriminalize pot, and the states stepped in to regulate, would you support the inevitable federal move to override the states’ desire to control pot in order to keep federal taxes rolling in, as a power given under the commerce clause?

shuzilla on April 19, 2010 at 7:55 PM

That New Deal Commerce Clause perversion is the problem. It is a leftist argument for giving the federal government plenary powers. That power was not thought to exist when liquor was banned. The constitution gives congress no power to stop any state from banning weed, just as it does not stop states from limiting alcohol, or some areas from banning liquor.

Federal prohibition uses and requires the same interpretation of the constitution as Obamacare and other expansions of federal power since the 30s. Does conservatism require constitutionally limited governemnt?

exception on April 19, 2010 at 8:11 PM

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 8:06 PM

What does any of that have to do with the reality of the situation. Say your Frosted Flakes funded Al Qaeda and your neighbor still ate them all the time. How does an effort to make those frosted flakes NOT funded by Al Qaeda have to do with your neighbor? He presumably eats them because he likes them and is either unaware of the secondary effects, as are a VAST majority of people who smoke cannabis, or doesn’t care. I seriously doubt your neighbor is eating Frosted Flakes to SUPPORT Al Qaeda. So if there was a way to continue to offer Frosted Flakes, but cut Al Qaeda out of the revenue stream, who the hell would be opposed to that?

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 8:16 PM

I don’t think adolescents in this country need any more chemical stimulation. They need discipline…

Nozzle on April 19, 2010 at 8:10 PM

And who better to provide it than the state! I’m not a big fan of kids who get ugly tattoos. Is there anything the state can do about that?

John9400 on April 19, 2010 at 8:18 PM

As for the argument about liberty, the same arguments apply to every illegal drug, so your first job is to demonstrate why marijuana should be legal while heroin and cocaine should not.

While ofcourse it’s not your job to demonstrate why alcohol and tobacco should be kept legal while marijuanna isn’t.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 8:18 PM

thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Just a question of sincerity. Some may not be aware of the ties to illegal immigration and gang crime, as you say. But then those who actually make the argument that it will reduce such things can clearly not claim ignorance. They would have to be among the “don’t care” crowd.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 8:20 PM

Guns are necessary, weed isn’t.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Neither is junk food. Let’s outlaw it. Fat kills.

Neither is coffee. Let’s outlaw it. Caffeine kills.

Neither is booze. Let’s outlaw it. Alcohol kills.

Oh, we tried that already? How did it work out?

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 8:21 PM

Some of the arguments mustered to defend an obviously harmful controlled substance are pretty pathetic.

tom on April 19, 2010 at 7:56 PM

1. Cigarettes
2. Booze
3. None of your goddamned business

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 8:22 PM

You know what if the left will ever come around to control political speech, ban unhealthy foods and God knows what else the only good thing that will come out of it is that every time you complain about the destruction of liberty you and your fellow statists will have to eat the same exact BS.
Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Quite the leap you made there. You want for purely selfish reasons to engage in an activity that endangers yourself and others, force other people to deal with the consequences of your decision and then we people say “Whoa there Hoss” claim we are taking your “freedom”? Your rights end at my wallet.
The left made the same argument about no fault divorce “It doesn’t affect anyone else” and look at the results
The left claimed sexual promiscuity wouldn’t harm anyone else and you see where that got us
The left glorified drugs and that has been positive how?

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Some of the arguments mustered to defend an obviously harmful controlled substance are pretty pathetic.

tom on April 19, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Some of the arguments mustered to defend extraconstitutional federal powers are pretty liberal.

exception on April 19, 2010 at 8:24 PM

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 8:21 PM

I was actually seeing if you’d take the bait and call weed necessary, kind of surprised you didn’t. Ah well, if you want to equate getting stoned with the right to keep and bear, we’ll just have to disagree.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 8:28 PM

If I knew Frosted Flakes helped fund jihad, I think I could probably go without, and I certainly wouldn’t pretend to care about terrorism if I continued to enjoy a bowl every so often.

Oh really? Is it okay for you to pretend caring about terrorism while driving your car? You know the thingy that consumes gasoline, made from oil? And is it ok for you to pretend you care about gang issues while supporting status quo on drug legalization which gives these gangs mighty income source? You know the thing you castigate pot smokers for while many of them grow their own stuff and don’t contribute in any way to gang walfare.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 8:29 PM

I think it would be interesting to see a list of when Article 1, Section 8 and the 10th Amendment are opposed by conservatives. If “conservative” is the right word.

exception on April 19, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 8:29 PM

Yes, gas is as frivolous an expenditure as breakfast cereal. You won!

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Wait, was I supposed to take your rambling insanity realistically? Your drinking Drano analogy is moronic and even you knew by the end how stupid it sounded. If someone drinks Drano and goes to the hospital, they should NOT be committed against their will. How effing statist are some of you “conservatives”. If you want to kill yourself with Drano, go ahead. None of my business. You think its justified to imprison a person against their will in a mental institution and then charge the taxpayers for the bill? No wonder this country is so finished financially, the liberals are straight socialist while half of the republicans are just progressive statists.
thphilli on April 19, 2010 at 8:00 PM

Glad to see your reading comprehension is above average, must be the public school education.
1. If you attempt suicide you will be committed, you can argue what should or should not occur ,I am just telling you what will occur
2. I never said it was justified to charge others for your foolishness, just that it does occur. There is no more debtors’ prison and public institutions can rarely garnishee your wages if you have any. Hospitals need cash to pay their people and buy supplies so the Govt. gives them some via the wallets of workers.
3. So in your world when some one kills them self either directly or through stupidity, what happens to the body? Do you leave it there to become a public health hazard until it molders into nothingness? Or do you have someone cart it away and bury the corpse, and who does that and you do you compensate them for their time and effort?
4. I noticed you did not refute any of my arguments

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Let’s see – this one goes out to LincolntheHun, shuzilla, Nozzle, and Ronnie. Mad Scientist says that the case needs to be made FOR the legalization of pot, on its own merits, as to why.

As a point of departure for this, could I get some feedback from you guys? How many of you fully endorse ALL of the reasons put forth by Harry Anslinger (the first ‘drug czar’) for criminalizing use and possession of cannabis when he testified on the matter before a Senate committee considering the Marijuana Stamp act?

Any of you? Full support for Mr. Anslinger’s reasons? All of them?

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 8:41 PM

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 8:34 PM

There was an argument in there somewhere? I was just too wierded out by your whole bodies clogging the streets scenario. Must have missed it.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 8:43 PM

John9400 on April 19, 2010 at 8:18 PM

I’ve seen the damage genius…Put 5000 sailors and Marines on a ship and their will be no policing the drug use…There are too many places to hide. Being at sea is long, boring, lonely in some respects…We will relive the nightmare of the 1970s military…As well, the number of persons driving will under the influence will go astronomical. It’s too easy…The paperboy, the UPS driver, your car mechanic will at some point be a user…It is an insidious disaster of epic proportions in the making…I didn’t know their were so many worthless heads on a conservative blog!

Nozzle on April 19, 2010 at 8:46 PM

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Dude I don’t know what to say to you. You’re fascist. I can go on for a thousandth time how me smoking joint doesn’t endanger myself (and if does it’s not your business), doesn’t endanger anyone else and most certainly doesn’t constitute some sort of me stealing money from you. But it’s really of no use. You will continue not giving a hoot about alcohol which is ten times worse than MJ in self harm and actually make people violent. You will continue making up the same crap which every single fascist need to make up in order to justify banning behaviour he doesn’t like, whether it’s unhealthy food, drugs, prostitution, guns, homosexuality, valentines day celebration etc.

Bottom line is you have your purely selfish ideological “morals” code and you will want to enforce it no matter how many innocent people will get screwed. Hope you’ll fail.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Hey Windrider,

You sound like a typical lib grasping at some inane piece of academic B$ to make an argument…I don’t answer to you. Piss off!

Nozzle on April 19, 2010 at 8:49 PM

It is an insidious disaster of epic proportions in the making.

Nozzle on April 19, 2010 at 8:46 PM

What was it like when drugs were legal?

exception on April 19, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Nozzle on April 19, 2010 at 8:46 PM

You’ve seen the damage, huh? This insidious disaster of epic proportions? That doesn’t seem too insidious.

Oh, and by the way, since alcohol is legal, there’s just no way they’ll control useage on a ship with 5000 sailors and Marines on a ship, there’s just too many places to hide. . .

Here’s a clue, bub, the nightmare of the 70′s military had a lot more to do with the leadership, from Jimmeh the Dhimmeh, on down than pot useage. The alcohol abuse (bing srinking, etc) was orders of magnitude worse.

Get another example.

Oh, yeah, was there, bought all the T-shirts.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 8:41 PM

I don’t know anything about him, and I don’t follow Senate hearings on marijuana.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Nozzle on April 19, 2010 at 8:49 PM

Wrong O, Squid breath.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Yes, gas is as frivolous an expenditure as breakfast cereal. You won!

Oh so there you go. Unlike those selfish pot smokers you really truly care about terrorism, unless it involves getting your ass on a bus once in a while. Your honesty is overwhelming.

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Yep, legalize it, tax it, and stop chasing people who smoke it.

Geronimo on April 19, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Windrider,

Retired USMC…Your right, been there done that, got a bunch of T-shirts…Have a nice day!

Nozzle on April 19, 2010 at 8:57 PM

Ronnie – good answer – yep, the question is a trap.

But it’s fairly easy to get the history on it. Google is your friend. Anslinger was in lockstep with Carrie Nations and the other prohibitionists of the early 20th Century. There were other background factors in play, but Anslinger made it his mission in life to outlaw cannabis – and one of the biggest arguments he put forth was the ‘moral corruption’ pitch, with the specter of ‘Jazz musicians getting the white women’ – and yes, that was a euphemism. He went on to be the longest serving beauracratic apparatchik of all time – even beating out Hoover’s tenure at FBI. You’ve probably seen his work – ‘Reefer Madness’ was his idea. . .

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Nozzle,

Retired USAF – much of it spent doing Counterdrug in CENTAM/SOUTHAM.

cheers

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 8:54 PM

You have no idea what I drive. You’re just grasping.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 9:01 PM

You sound like a typical lib grasping at some inane piece of academic B$ to make an argument…I don’t answer to you. Piss off!

Nozzle on April 19, 2010 at 8:49 PM

And you sound like someone who just conceded the argument.

JohnGalt23 on April 19, 2010 at 9:11 PM

I was actually seeing if you’d take the bait and call weed necessary, kind of surprised you didn’t. Ah well, if you want to equate getting stoned with the right to keep and bear, we’ll just have to disagree.

clearbluesky on April 19, 2010 at 8:28 PM

I’m not making so ridiculous of a comparison. You are. I’m comparing the right to choose whether or not to own a firearm to the right to choose whether or not to smoke a joint. Both require the populace and the state to trust the individual over the collective. If you want to play the “hyperbolic presentation of the case” game, I could argue that a person smoking a joint is far less dangerous to others than a person owning a gun. It wouldn’t be a very good argument, because I know that guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens harm very few people. However, when you’re arguing over necessity, in a country that prides itself on having long since satisfied need and allows people to pursue happiness provided it doesn’t impede others’ same pursuit, it’s fair to say you’re backed into a corner.

Something not being necessary is never a reason for something to be illegal. Otherwise, we could produce a laundry list of legal, unnecessary items in this country that pose far more of a threat than pot.

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Yea you did but not to worry I was not expecting a coherent counter argument from you.

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 9:19 PM

MadisonConservative on April 19, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Actually, if you want to make the comparison, it wouldn’t be appropriate to include law-abiding gun owners anyway, since there are basically no law-abiding pot owners.

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Government sold pot= Rag Weed.

tbear44 on April 19, 2010 at 9:25 PM

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 9:19 PM

I doubt you could keep up, anyway.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Ronnie on April 19, 2010 at 9:22 PM

This sidesteps the point MadCon is making – and that is that the prohibitionist argument is fundamentally indistinguishable from the nanny state leanings of such luminaries as Henry Waxman and Hizzoner Mayor Bloomberg – in that it is the statement that something is being done ‘for your own good’, or emplacement of stricture for the collective good – even when the activity in question has no direct, tangible negative impact on others (other than the ‘safety and security’ argument) – which is directly on point with Mr. Franklin’s observations about such impulses and their detrimental effect upon liberty.

No, thank you.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 9:31 PM

Alexey on April 19, 2010 at 8:47 PM
Dude I don’t know what to say to you. You’re fascist.

And you’re a petulant child with out a grasp of history, comparative governments or common sense, see I can call names as well. Actually if you read, you will find that Fascists believe in State control of industry, that is not something I have ever advocated.

I can go on for a thousandth time how me smoking joint doesn’t endanger myself (and if does it’s not your business), doesn’t endanger anyone else and most certainly doesn’t constitute some sort of me stealing money from you.

Well you have to make an argument that is not “Me…I wanna… I wanna I wanna Meeeeeeeee”
What your argument and attitude essentially break down to is you want all the benefits of society with out having to follow any of the rules.
You want rights with out responsibilities, benefits with out contribution.
There is a word for an animal like that….parasite.

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 9:33 PM

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 8:41 PM

You’re just lashing out because your’re condemned to lose this fight.

mad scientist on April 19, 2010 at 9:35 PM

I doubt you could keep up, anyway.

Wind Rider on April 19, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Coming from a guy that looks suspiciously like Prez Hilton?
Who advocates dope use?
Yea it will be a real toughie.

LincolntheHun on April 19, 2010 at 9:35 PM

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