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Posted by on Dec 6, 2012 in Politics | 3 comments

Celebrations as Pot Becomes Legal in Washington State

As someone who does not use marijuana (I’ve tried it, I seriously don’t like it, stopped playing with it years ago, it makes me depressed and paranoid) I was thrilled recently when multiple states injected sanity into their marijuana laws, some at least legalizing it for medicinal use and some legalizing recreational use outright. There were celebrations as this new law went into effect at midnight today in Washington state.

There is reason for some pessimism over this; in the past, going back as far as the 1970s, the Federal government has exerted enormous pressure on states that decriminalized minor amounts of pot possession. But I think there’s something in the wind: I suspect the Feds will not this time attempt a massive crackdown on states that decriminalize. The tide appears to have turned, and most sensible people, including a large number of self-described “conservatives” and Republicans, nowadays concede, at least in private, that energy on marijuana interdiction is mostly wasted. Although President Obama is quite a hypocrite, having publicly admitted to smoking pot and “maybe some blow” (i.e. cocaine) but continuing to run a Drug Warrior administration, perhaps in his second term he will feel less political pressure to continue being a Drug Warrior, since the tide is turning in multiple states and he has no need to fear losing an election over this issue now.

Let’s hope that’s what the administration does anyway. Having known any number of potheads, I’ve found some to be rather stupid airheaded people who aren’t very productive citizens, while others are extremely functional and get along in the world just great, including even successful managers and corporate officers at some fairly profitable companies who hide their pot use only to avoid getting in trouble, even while hypocritically supporting drug testing rules for floor-level workers. That’s a trend not likely to change immediately either. But in any case, having known any number of alcoholics (and being a recovering alcoholic myself) it’s long been obvious to me which drug causes people to be the most physically and psychologically destructive and to destroy the most lives, and it isn’t pot.

The energy and money and lives wasted in our futile war against pot is a national disgrace. Indeed the entire War On Drugs is a fiasco and a farce, and I say that as someone who has family in law enforcement dedicated to fighting drug trafficking. The real solution to the drug problem is strict regulation and treatment programs for people who commit criminal offenses while using drugs, any drugs including alcohol. It’s cheaper, it’s more effective, and would result in a much lower number of men in prison. (The War On Drugs is mostly a War On Poor Men, as it happens, as well over 90% of our prison population is male despite there being no evidence that men are more likely to be criminals than women are; women just get a discount in arrest, prosecution, and sentencing as part of the Female Privilege that is so pervasive in our society.)

Here’s hoping the 2nd Obama administration takes a brave stand. They don’t have to come out in favor of pot legalization, but they can announce that Federal resources will no longer be wasted on harassing marijuana producers and users, and embrace the States’ Rights position on this state: if it’s legal in California, or Washington, or Michigan, or Colorado, or wherever, it should be none of the Federal government’s business. That would be an easy position for the Obama administration to take. Here’s hoping they will.

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • clarkma5

    When it comes to being socially libertarian, decriminalizing drug use makes the most sense. Yes, some people will self-medicate with it. Some people will fight chronic addictions. But is prohibition the answer? History says “no” resoundingly, because prohibition or not, people still find plenty of ways to incorporate consciousness altering substances into their lives, whether they’re legal or illegal. And the more important point is that people find ways of doing it that are damaging and self-descructive while others find ways of doing it that is balanced and moderated. Not only is it possible to use drugs in a way that is low impact on your life, it’s possible to use drugs in a way that is life-affirming and holistic. And at the end of the day, whether you’re talking about drug use or career choice or educational attainment or any number of life choices that are possible, we should all be free to make these decisions for ourselves and reap the consequences or rewards as they fall to us instead of being nannied.

  • zephyr

    Thanks for bringing this up Dean. How much should any govt seek to control the behavior of it’s citizens? Anything can be abused, not just drugs (legal and otherwise) but virtually anything. It shouldn’t be the business of govt to regulate the personal behavior of it’s citizens and it certainly shouldn’t be locking up and ruining the lives of innocent people. The incarceration rate in this country is out of control and is a national disgrace. I’m not sure Obama has the vision and spine to address the issue, but I hope someone does within my lifetime.

  • ShannonLeee

    As someone who does not use marijuana

    By using “pot” in the title, you really didn’t need this sentence 😉

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