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Post Prop 19 arguments

There simply aren't any good arguments in favor of prohibition. But people keep trying. Fortunately, there are smart people like Andrew Sullivan publicly destroying these bad arguments. A snippet:

This is a core freedom for human beings and requires an insane apparatus of state control and police power to prevent it from occurring. All you have to do is burn a plant and inhale the smoke. If humans are not free to do this in the natural world in which they were born, what on earth are they free to do? My premise is freedom; Josh's is not.

Should we ban roses because they give us pleasure with their beauty and their scent? Should we ban herbs, like rosemary or thyme, because they give us pleasure and encourage us to eat more? Should we ban lawn-grass because maintaining it consumes too many people's weekend afternoons? Should we cut down trees because the beauty of them can sometimes distract someone from the road? I could go on.

The point is the government has no business regulating how its citizens derive pleasure from a naturally occurring plant. Period. The whole idea is preposterous. And yet it is taken for granted.

I hope the prohibitionists continue to roll out their "best" arguments between now and the next time legalization comes up for a vote.

Comments

diabolical_mdog said…
Opium poppies are plants...shouldn't the criteria be whether it is something that humans are generally capable of using in moderation?
JohnJohn said…
Mdog! Good to hear from you!

Nope, I don't agree with that criterion at all, for several reasons:

1) Alcohol is made from plants, many people can't use alcohol in moderation, and alcohol prohibition was a tremendous failure. A failure that sadly we haven't learned from. Should we outlaw alcohol again? Should we outlaw tobacco? If not, then we shouldn't outlaw cannabis, even *if* people can't use it in moderation.

2) People can't eat fast food in moderation. By your criterion we should outlaw Big Macs. This wouldn't work any better than alcohol prohibition. People are gonna put bad stuff in their bodies if they want to, no matter what the law says.

3) Implicit in your argument is the idea that outlawing poppy seeds has helped prevent people from being addicted to heroine. This is dubious. I don't use heroine, but not because it is illegal---I've used illegal substances with little fear of arrest. I don't use heroine because I make the decision not to.

4) Anyone not convinced that drug legalization works to reduce drug use, addiction and crime, check out this Cato Institute report on drug decriminalization in Portugal...which started 9 years ago and resulted in far more good than bad.

Drug prohibition is a monumental failure. Why should we waste money, prison space and human lives to continue it?

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