When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for conservatives to divorce themselves from superstitions they’ve embraced since the Progressive Movement of the 1920s and join the pantheon of reasonable people, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. I hold these truths to be totally friggin’ obvious, that all drugs are not created equal, that we’ve wasted billions of dollars and millions of lives pursuing a demented “zero tolerance” temperance goal that was Never Going To Happen, that the losses we’ve endured trying stamp out weed have cost American society more than they've gained, that among these losses are lives, money, and opportunity. That whenever a policy becomes so destructive of the ends of living free and prospering that even the Dean of American Conservative Intellectualism screams “LEGALIZE IT,” only an idiot would hold propaganda images from Refer Madness as an excuse to support our current marijuana prohibition. That if tomorrow the laws of the federal government and the 48 states still prohibiting possession of a milligram of marijuana were erased and forgotten, the world would go on, America would remain the lone Super Power (with other gaining) and the largest economy in the history of mankind, dogs would continue to chase cats, Angelina Jolie would still be hot, and Rachel Maddow would remain an idiot. To prove this, let Facts about this War On Drugs be submitted to a candid world:
- It costs about $56 billion a year
- It squanders tax revenue from the drugs targeted of about $42 billion (if taxed like alcohol and tobacco)
- It costs governments $98 billion dollars a year in net money—a fine down payment on our umpteen-quadrillion dollar national debt
- It screws up the lives of about 680,000 Americans per year whose only crime was possession of marijuana with no intent to distribute
- It fails to reduce the number of people who try weed, as the usage rate in the USA is identical to usage in Holland where it’s legal
- It rewards organized crime, street gangs, and international drug cartels by creating a black market with inflated prices
- It takes police away from serious crimes like rape, murder, assault, and terrorism
- It has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. (Sorry. That’s such an awesome sentence I had to steal it from TJ.)
Seriously, here’s what Buckley said about conservatives and weed in 2004:
Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great. The laws aren't exactly indefensible, because practically nothing is, and the thunderers who tell us to stay the course can always find one man or woman who, having taken marijuana, moved on to severe mental disorder. But that argument, to quote myself, is on the order of saying that every rapist began by masturbating. General rules based on individual victims are unwise. And although there is a perfectly respectable case against using marijuana, the penalties imposed on those who reject that case, or who give way to weakness of resolution, are very difficult to defend. If all our laws were paradigmatic, imagine what we would do to anyone caught lighting a cigarette, or drinking a beer. Or — exulting in life in the paradigm — committing adultery. Send them all to Guantanamo? [emphasis added for emphasis]
So, grow up, conservatives, or be ready to lose a lot of tourism money to Colorado and Washington. Pot isn’t a super-addictive poison that gives people super-human strength to kill cops and rape nuns. It’s not H, and it’s not Angel Dust. It’s pot. Unless you’re afraid of people driving too slow and staying out of bar fights, settle down. If pot were legalized, Hostess would still be in business and likely challenging Apple for the highest market cap in history.
If conservatives want to be seen as serious about the real threats to freedom, we better let go of the bogeyman we’ve carried over from the Coolidge administration.
If you do nothing else in 2013, Legalize It.