Sunday, May 2, 2010

Marijuana and Earthquakes

California has an initiative on the ballot in the Nov. 2010 election to legalizing marijuana. One of the main arguments for this is that criminalizing pot results in the problems found in the 1920s during prohibition. This is a compelling argument but reminds me of my experience with earthquakes. Every time there is an earthquake, my friends and relatives from out of state call to see if I'm okay. They see the dramatic coverage of large fissures, fallen buildings, etc. and immediately worry about us. Meanwhile, we get about 30 seconds of shaking to liven our conversations (no material damage).

The "narrative" for prohibition seems to focus on the epicenter in Chicago with Al Capone and his bootlegging friends. However, today there are 100s of dry counties in the U.S that prohibit alcohol without even the slightest aftershock. The best argument I found against "dry counties" was that people who consume alcohol have to drive farther to get intoxicated and therefore are driving drunk longer.

Here are my views on legalizing marijuana:

1. The Federal Government does not, nor should it, have the power to restrict our liberties (At least they realized in 1920 that this was unconstitutional resulting in an amendment).
2. There are plenty of people who will make bad decisions when trying to provide, procure or use self-medicating substances.
3. There are plenty of people who are perfectly content avoiding self-medicating substances (legal or not).
(The next two are from a friend who is a Criminal Defense Attorney).
4. "There is nothing that leads a person faster to a worthless life that smoking pot".
5. "We should expect all citizens to be productive members of society, otherwise they are a drain on our resources".
6. If thinking about this gives you a headache, please don't go and get a medical marijuana card.


Dinah said...

Nice site, very informative. I like to read this.,it is very helpful in my part for my criminal law studies.

Kevin said...

I tend to follow the straight libertarian line on this, both from a freedom perspective and an economic perspective. I also note that the general consensus of the public health community is that alcohol abuse is a much bigger problem than marijuana abuse, even when you control for relative size of user base - and when's the last time you heard of a mean pot smoker as opposed to a mean drunk?