Video: Bill O’Reilly and I yell at each other about weed, Part II

posted at 9:51 pm on January 13, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

The funny thing about these exchanges is marijuana legalization isn’t even a top issue for me, but I will do battle to defend the right of more than half the country to reasonably hold that position without being accused of being potheads and infant pot-smoking advocates. I just feel the real and social costs of prohibition are huge (hundreds of billions in taxpayer money), the Drug War has been a failure (80 percent of Americans agree), we should think about other strategies for non violent drug offenders than jail (80 percent of those polled in Texas agree) and the states are meant to be laboratories of democracy, and will function as such on this issue. I do not deny downsides and dangers exist and am in full agreement about wanting to keep it away from children. The Drug War hasn’t been great at doing that. I’m not personally a big fan of weed, but I do think, though they can be abused, adults can enjoy both marijuana and alcohol in moderation and still be perfectly healthy, productive people.

I wish I had mentioned this this, too, which I’ve mentioned in other O’Reilly segments on this subject. The social cost of marijuana arrests —1.5 million drug arrests, almost half for marijuana, and the vast majority of those for possession only—do fall disproportionately on minority populations even though white people use the drug at the same rate. Incarceration does happen, and the cost can be devastating, and the punishments desperately unfair.

And, hey, good point, Guy (who describes himself as between Bill and me on the issue):

In good news, I have been upgraded from “babbling” to “pettifogging” by Bill. As The Right Scoop notes, no matter which side you’re on, you’ll probably enjoy the fireworks. I’m totally comfortable with disagreement and with reassessing as we watch Colorado and Washington, though my Twitter stream again suggests there are a lot of conservatives who lean libertarian on this issue. Click to watch. Updated with YouTube video:

Exit quotation: “First of all, please don’t mistake my position for that of people who are indifferent to drugs. I’m not indifferent to drugs. I think I’ve been quoted as saying if I could turn a single latch which would make all the drugs disappear from the face of the earth, with the exception of here and there, a vineyard in Bordeaux, I would turn that latch. Now, you say is it inconsistent for a conservative to take my position? I don’t think it is, because a conservative seeks to be grounded in reality. That which works is quantifiable; that which simply does not work, isn’t. If you were to pass a law requiring people to go to church on Sunday, it wouldn’t work. Under the circumstances, you would eventually simply withdraw such a law. My position on drugs is that they are, the drug laws aren’t working, and that more damage net is being done by their continuation on the books than would be done by withdrawing them from the books.”

Correction: I left a “t” out of pettifogging. It’s fixed now.

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