Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Marijuana legalization: A primer

Posted by sanityinjection on July 9, 2009

It’s been a while since I touched on the long-standing question of legalizing marijuana. I’m something of an agnostic on the issue: my reservations about legalization tend to be practical rather than fundamental.

Most of the literature on the subject comes with a very strong opinion either for or against. I therefore found this piece by Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum unusual. Like myself, Drum is a non-pot-smoker with no deep convictions one way or another about the matter. He delivers a thoughtful look at the issue from a practical rather than an ideological perspective. Along the way, he delivers some good information, like the true number of people imprisioned on marijuana charges (a lot fewer than you think.)

Drum concludes with a mild argument in favor of at least further loosening marijuana laws. I am not sure I agree, particularly because Drum does not address the proven ability of law enforcement to arrest serious criminals on pot charges. However, the conlcusion here is not important as the journey. I recommend this piece to anyone interested in a more thorough understanding of some of the issues involved in marijuana policy.


2 Responses to “Marijuana legalization: A primer”

  1. Debaters debate the two wars as if Nixon’s civil war on Woodstock Nation did not yet run amok. Madam Secretary Clinton need not travel to China to find a culture stripped of human rights or to Cuba for political prisoners. America leads the world in percentile behind bars, due to continuing persecution of flower-children and minorities under the banner of the war on drugs. If we are all about spreading liberty abroad, then why mix the message at home? Peace on the home front would enhance credibility.

    The witch-hunt doctor’s Rx for prison fodder costs dearly, as lives are flushed down expensive tubes. Each new investigation, prosecution, adjudication, incarceration and probation – including infrastructure support – must be paid for. My shaman’s second opinion is homegrown herbal remedy. Consumer dollars can stimulate the economy better if they aren’t depleted by prohibition’s black market.

    Only a clause about interstate commerce provides prohibition a shred of constitutionality. The commerce policy on the number-one cash crop in the land is: no taxation, yes eradication, but money to frustrate enforcement grows on trees. Did the authors of the Constitution intend to enrich foreign cartels at the expense of the treasury? America rejected prohibition, but its back. SWAT teams don’t need no stinking amendment.

    Nixon promised the Schafer Commission would support the criminalization of the hippies and radicals, but it didn’t. No matter, the witch-hunt was on. No amendments can assure due-process under an anti-science law without any due-process itself. Psychology hailed the breakthrough potential of LSD, until the CSA (Controlled Substances Act of 1970) halted all research. Marijuana has no medical use, period.

    The RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993) allows Native American Church members to eat peyote, which functions like LSD. A specific church membership should not be prerequisite for Americans to obtain their birthright freedom of religion. Denial of entheogen sacrament to any American, for mediation of communion with his or her maker, burdens the free exercise of religious liberty.

    Freedom of speech presupposes freedom of thought. The Constitution doesn’t enumerate any governmental power to embargo diverse states of mind. How and when did government usurp this power to coerce conformity? The Puritans came here to escape coerced conformity. Legislators who would limit cognitive liberty lack jurisdiction.

    Common-law must hold that the people are the legal owners of their own bodies. Socrates said to know your self. Mortal law should not presume to thwart the intelligent design that molecular keys unlock spiritual doors. Persons who appreciate their own free choice of path in life should not deny self-exploration to seekers. Americans’ right to the pursuit of happiness is supposed to be inalienable by government.

    Simple majorities in each house could put repeal of the CSA on the president’s desk. The books have ample law on them without the CSA. The usual caveats remain in effect. You are liable for damages when you screw-up. Strong medicine requires prescription. Employees can be fired for poor job performance. No harm, no foul; and no excuse, either. Replace the war on drugs with a frugal, constitutional, science-based drugs policy.

  2. “America leads the world in percentile behind bars, due to continuing persecution of flower-children and minorities under the banner of the war on drugs.”

    Bill, when you lead off with this sort of silliness, it undermines the credibility of everything else you have to say – some of which actually makes sense.

    Believe it or not, most of the people in American prisons are there because they have committed a real crime, not because of some vast government conspiracy against hippies and minorities.

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