Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Legalize Weed. Or Don’t … Whatever, Just Pass the Funyuns.

 

shutterstock_241089598Last year, Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana, thanks to a popular initiative. I was happy with the voters’ decision, even though I’m not a fan of weed and would recommend people avoid it. Our society doesn’t need another way to avoid reality, but the drug war has staggering costs, both in personal freedom and government spending. That’s why I’m happy to see a few states roll back the restrictions on something as commonplace as pot.

Earlier this week, Ohio voters rejected a referendum to legalize grass, though this proposal also created an unwieldy cartel to distribute the product. I was fine with Ohio voters’ decision, as well. My own state of Arizona is expected to have a ganga legalization vote next year and, though I’m currently undecided, I wouldn’t be surprised if I voted against it. So why am I fine with Coloradans and Washingtonians passing around blunts, and also fine with Ohio and Arizona just saying no? It’s not as inconsistent as it seems.

The first reason is federalism. What works in Delaware might not work in Idaho, so we don’t want our betters in the Beltway issuing one-size-fits-all mandates for both states. Obviously, the federal government is essential in deciding national issues like defense and foreign policy, but whenever possible local and regional governments should decide local and regional matters. Reefer madness isn’t exactly the biggest issue on DC’s plate right now. If California wants a top state income tax rate of 70 percent and Texas wants no state income tax at all, fantastic. May the best economic theory win.

Likewise, if Ohioans frown on patchouli-soaked hippies smoking the Devil’s Cabbage while Coloradans embrace them (while holding their breath, I hope), vive le différence. May a thousand buds bloom.

The second reason I’m not adamant about the push for immediate legalization everywhere is because I’m a conservatarian, and not a full-blown libertarian. We should increase liberty and use history as our guide to do so in the best way. As Russell Kirk wrote, “the conservative person is simply one who finds the permanent things more pleasing than Chaos and Old Night.” Yes, change and reform can at times be good things, but “a people’s historic continuity of experience” is very good indeed. Our society was not created ex nihilo a week ago Tuesday, but evolved slowly while maintaining a healthy dose of custom, convention, and continuity.

The last reason is perhaps my most cynical: I would prefer that other states make the mistakes, adjust accordingly, and develop best practices over several years. After that, I’m happy for my own state to adopt their tried-and-true regime, saving countless wasted years, dollars, and perhaps lives. For its part, Arizona is pioneering education reforms that are being tweaked and slowly exported to other states. Why doesn’t Phoenix focus on school choice while Denver tackles the far less urgent policies regarding righteous Kush?

Maybe I’m not being cynical. According to Kirk, Aquinas — hey, go all the way back to Plato — Prudence is chief among virtues. In drug policy as in most others, there’s no need to rush into a half-baked proposal. Though it’s tough for politicians not to jump on the fashionable ideas of the moment, few voters will be harmed by taking a few extra years to roll back cheeba codes which have existed for nearly a century.

Is my viewpoint hypocritical or is it consistent in a roundabout way? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be over here with a bag of Funyuns, standing athwart history muttering, “just chill, man.”

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  1. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: My own state of Arizona is expected to have a ganga legalization vote next year and, though I’m currently undecided, I wouldn’t be surprised if I voted against it.

    Odd that since you recognize the destructive nature of the War on Drugs that you would not wish to mitigate it. Is it that you believe that the destructive affects of weed outweigh those of the War on Drugs?

    • #1
    • November 6, 2015, at 2:35 PM PST
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  2. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy CarterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Maybe You got it backwards:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Our society was not created ex nihilo a week ago Tuesday, but evolved slowly while maintaining a healthy dose of custom, convention, and continuity.

    Pot was legal before it wasn’t. California being the first to outlaw it in 1913. Before that Our Nation was enjoying “a healthy dose of custom, convention, and continuity.” You know, conserving Liberty.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: I would prefer that other states make the mistakes,

    And mistakes “that other states” made following suit.

    Perhaps it’s Colorado that’s leading Us back to Our Kirkian roots.

    • #2
    • November 6, 2015, at 2:46 PM PST
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  3. Bob Thompson Member

    Your viewpoint is almost a match for mine, a fellow conservatarian. Federalism in its fullest form is the best approach to accommodating differing political views.

    I have a vague memory that one of the things that started us into this Washington one size fits all entitlement mentality was California complaining about other states’ restrictions and limitations and that other states should offer the same benefits as them. This was caused by in-migrations straining their resources. It never occurred to them to offer less.

    • #3
    • November 6, 2015, at 2:48 PM PST
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  4. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western ChauvinistJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Amen!

    No Funyuns, but, here, have some Bugles.

    • #4
    • November 6, 2015, at 2:49 PM PST
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  5. Spin Inactive
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon,

    Here in Washington we passed two laws, in recent years, that various folks said would cause all kinds of mayhem. First eliminated state run liquor stores in favor of letting any establishment with a license to sell hard alcohol. Liberals decried this and said that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get drunk, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen. Second, eliminated the outright ban on marijuana. Conservatives told us that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get stoned, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen.

    I like the idea that, should I want to, I can get my liquor at Safeway and then drive a couple of blocks and get my pot. Not because I want people to get drunk and stoned (especially teenagers), but because I like the idea of freedom.

    My point is this: the world ain’t gonna end if Arizona legalizes pot. It just won’t.

    • #5
    • November 6, 2015, at 2:50 PM PST
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  6. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Spin:Jon,

    Here in Washington we passed two laws, in recent years, that various folks said would cause all kinds of mayhem. First eliminated state run liquor stores in favor of letting any establishment with a license to sell hard alcohol. Liberals decried this and said that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get drunk, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen. Second, eliminated the outright ban on marijuana. Conservatives told us that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get stoned, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen.

    I like the idea that, should I want to, I can get my liquor at Safeway and then drive a couple of blocks and get my pot. Not because I want people to get drunk and stoned (especially teenagers), but because I like the idea of freedom.

    My point is this: the world ain’t gonna end if Arizona legalizes pot. It just won’t.

    If I did want to get pot, I’d probably want to get it at the same place I get my liquor, but otherwise agreed.

    • #6
    • November 6, 2015, at 2:54 PM PST
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  7. Bob Thompson Member

    Matt Balzer:

    Spin:Jon,

    Here in Washington we passed two laws, in recent years, that various folks said would cause all kinds of mayhem. First eliminated state run liquor stores in favor of letting any establishment with a license to sell hard alcohol. Liberals decried this and said that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get drunk, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen. Second, eliminated the outright ban on marijuana. Conservatives told us that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get stoned, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen.

    I like the idea that, should I want to, I can get my liquor at Safeway and then drive a couple of blocks and get my pot. Not because I want people to get drunk and stoned (especially teenagers), but because I like the idea of freedom.

    My point is this: the world ain’t gonna end if Arizona legalizes pot. It just won’t.

    If I did want to get pot, I’d probably want to get it at the same place I get my liquor, but otherwise agreed.

    And if I wanted to do these things, I could always figure out how to move to Washington.

    • #7
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:00 PM PST
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  8. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Bob Thompson:

    Matt Balzer:

    Spin:Jon,

    Here in Washington we passed two laws, in recent years, that various folks said would cause all kinds of mayhem. First eliminated state run liquor stores in favor of letting any establishment with a license to sell hard alcohol. Liberals decried this and said that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get drunk, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen. Second, eliminated the outright ban on marijuana. Conservatives told us that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get stoned, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen.

    I like the idea that, should I want to, I can get my liquor at Safeway and then drive a couple of blocks and get my pot. Not because I want people to get drunk and stoned (especially teenagers), but because I like the idea of freedom.

    My point is this: the world ain’t gonna end if Arizona legalizes pot. It just won’t.

    If I did want to get pot, I’d probably want to get it at the same place I get my liquor, but otherwise agreed.

    And if I wanted to do these things, I could always figure out how to move to Washington.

    If you really want Pot you can get it in about 5 minutes regardless of its legality. So much for the war on drugs.

    • #8
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:04 PM PST
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  9. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Bob Thompson:

    Matt Balzer:

    Spin:Jon,

    I like the idea that, should I want to, I can get my liquor at Safeway and then drive a couple of blocks and get my pot. Not because I want people to get drunk and stoned (especially teenagers), but because I like the idea of freedom.

    If I did want to get pot, I’d probably want to get it at the same place I get my liquor, but otherwise agreed.

    And if I wanted to do these things, I could always figure out how to move to Washington.

    Since I only want to get liquor, I don’t need to worry about that.

    • #9
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:04 PM PST
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  10. Bob Thompson Member

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bob Thompson:

    Matt Balzer:

    Spin:Jon,

    Here in Washington we passed two laws, in recent years, that various folks said would cause all kinds of mayhem. First eliminated state run liquor stores in favor of letting any establishment with a license to sell hard alcohol. Liberals decried this and said that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get drunk, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen. Second, eliminated the outright ban on marijuana. Conservatives told us that the world would come to an end (that is, lots of people would get stoned, especially teenagers). That didn’t happen.

    I like the idea that, should I want to, I can get my liquor at Safeway and then drive a couple of blocks and get my pot. Not because I want people to get drunk and stoned (especially teenagers), but because I like the idea of freedom.

    My point is this: the world ain’t gonna end if Arizona legalizes pot. It just won’t.

    SNIP

    If you really want Pot you can get it in about 5 minutes regardless of its legality. So much for the war on drugs.

    And if the Feds dropped DEA, then each state could decide where to invest their effort, no? Oh, but we might still need some border control.

    • #10
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:09 PM PST
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  11. Jon Gabriel, Ed. King
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.

    Jamie Lockett: Odd that since you recognize the destructive nature of the War on Drugs that you would not wish to mitigate it.

    I do wish to mitigate it. But I want to dismantle it carefully.

    • #11
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:14 PM PST
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  12. Jon Gabriel, Ed. King
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.

    Jimmy Carter:Maybe You got it backwards:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Our society was not created ex nihilo a week ago Tuesday, but evolved slowly while maintaining a healthy dose of custom, convention, and continuity.

    Pot was legal before it wasn’t. California being the first to outlaw it in 1913. Before that Our Nation was enjoying “a healthy dose of custom, convention, and continuity.” You know, conserving Liberty.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: I would prefer that other states make the mistakes,

    And mistakes “that other states” made following suit.

    Perhaps it’s Colorado that’s leading Us back to Our Kirkian roots.

    You make some excellent points.

    • #12
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:16 PM PST
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  13. jetstream Inactive

    So why am I fine with Coloradans and Washingtonians passing around blunts, and also fine with Ohio and Arizona just saying no? It’s not as inconsistent as it seems.

    You have the good taste to prefer coke?

    • #13
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:24 PM PST
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  14. Spin Inactive
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Matt Balzer: If I did want to get pot, I’d probably want to get it at the same place I get my liquor, but otherwise agreed.

    We have some stores around that sell smokes, liquor, “paraphernalia”, and porn (and pretty much nothing else). I call them the “bad habit” stores. I don’t know if they’ve also gotten where they can sell pot, but I am sure that is coming.

    • #14
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:26 PM PST
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  15. Bereket Kelile Member
    Bereket KelileJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I think a lot of people aren’t aware that legalizing recreational pot means the creation of commercialized pot. That’s partly why Coloradans aren’t exactly crazy about the passage of that initiative. It needs to be mentioned that it’ll be in your face all over the place, via stores and advertising. And then there’s the God-awful stench which is a tremendous nuisance.

    • #15
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:38 PM PST
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  16. Matt Balzer, Imperialist Claw Member

    Spin:

    Matt Balzer: If I did want to get pot, I’d probably want to get it at the same place I get my liquor, but otherwise agreed.

    We have some stores around that sell smokes, liquor, “paraphernalia”, and porn (and pretty much nothing else). I call them the “bad habit” stores. I don’t know if they’ve also gotten where they can sell pot, but I am sure that is coming.

    Sure. I don’t frequent the porn stores, so I’m not sure if they sell liquor and smokes, but everywhere else around here does so it’s not like they lose out on that much business.

    • #16
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:45 PM PST
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  17. Spin Inactive
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bereket Kelile:It needs to be mentioned that it’ll be in your face all over the place, via stores and advertising.

    Yeah. Depending on which route I take going home, I go by as many as three pot stores. Totally “in my face”.

    • #17
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:47 PM PST
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  18. Spin Inactive
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Matt Balzer:

    Spin:

    Matt Balzer: If I did want to get pot, I’d probably want to get it at the same place I get my liquor, but otherwise agreed.

    We have some stores around that sell smokes, liquor, “paraphernalia”, and porn (and pretty much nothing else). I call them the “bad habit” stores. I don’t know if they’ve also gotten where they can sell pot, but I am sure that is coming.

    Sure. I don’t frequent the porn stores, so I’m not sure if they sell liquor and smokes, but everywhere else around here does so it’s not like they lose out on that much business.

    Around here, most of the pot stores are pot stores. I am not aware of any shops that were selling something else have now diversified. It’s possible. But I don’t go in to any of those shops, so I wouldn’t really know.

    I have to admit I have thought about stopping in and seeing what goes on.

    • #18
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:49 PM PST
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  19. Larry3435 Member

    Spin:My point is this: the world ain’t gonna end if Arizona legalizes pot. It just won’t.

    I think I read here that the world was going to come to a complete and utter end if we legalized SSM. How many times can the world come to an end during this decade? We are depriving our children of their fair share of world ending cataclysms. If we keep doing this, the world is going to end!

    • #19
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:50 PM PST
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  20. blank generation member Inactive

    Whilst visiting CO this summer my Sander’s supporting sister-in-law, who voted for the law, was having second thoughts. Too many loafers in downtown Fort Collins.

    • #20
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:54 PM PST
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  21. Hercules Rockefeller Inactive

    Our society doesn’t need another way to avoid reality, but the drug war has staggering costs, both in personal freedom and government spending.

    I struggle with this same feeling on the issue. I’m worried that my generation, the millennials, are too concerned with constantly pleasing our base desires. We our selling ourselves short when we become prisoners to those desires. I think true freedom is only attained when you control those base needs, so that you can reach your full potential.

    In theory I am for legalization but I’m still on the fence for how I’d actually vote. I’m not sure that all of the pro-legalization people are making a liberty based argument, especially with the cartel idea in Ohio.

    Whats the next step after legalization? Will we eventually have to have TRUTH campaigns in schools against weed like we do cigarettes?

    • #21
    • November 6, 2015, at 3:54 PM PST
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  22. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Some months ago, or perhaps last year, I received about a thousand dollars that smelled strongly of marijuana. I won’t go into details, but trust me that it was an entirely legitimate transaction. I just found myself holding a handful of cash that smelled like, well, the inside of a dime bag.

    This was so unusual that I took a deep sniff of the cash. And immediately felt hungry.

    Do they still sell those Hostess fruit pies?

    • #22
    • November 6, 2015, at 4:26 PM PST
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  23. Spin Inactive
    SpinJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hercules Rockefeller: In theory I am for legalization but I’m still on the fence for how I’d actually vote.

    I voted against it here, but if I had to do it again I’d vote yes.

    • #23
    • November 6, 2015, at 4:37 PM PST
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  24. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Jamie Lockett: Odd that since you recognize the destructive nature of the War on Drugs that you would not wish to mitigate it.

    I do wish to mitigate it. But I want to dismantle it carefully.

    I favor incrementalism as much as the next conservatarian but when one looks at the pernicious nature of the War on Drugs I don’t think it is warranted when it comes to weed.

    • #24
    • November 6, 2015, at 5:00 PM PST
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  25. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Being against legalization does not mean being pro War on Drugs.

    • #25
    • November 6, 2015, at 5:02 PM PST
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  26. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Bryan G. Stephens:Being against legalization does not mean being pro War on Drugs.

    Ah so it should be illegal but unenforced?

    • #26
    • November 6, 2015, at 5:07 PM PST
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  27. Bob Thompson Member

    Jamie Lockett:

    Bryan G. Stephens:Being against legalization does not mean being pro War on Drugs.

    Ah so it should be illegal but unenforced?

    Wow, we have lots of experience with that approach.

    • #27
    • November 6, 2015, at 5:25 PM PST
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  28. I Walton Member

    That we should end the war on drugs does not mean we should celebrate this stuff. It took us years to demonize cigarettes, restrict their advertising and make it difficult to smoke almost everywhere. Let’s end the war because it is and will always be a disastrous failure, but let’s not embrace these toxic substances as if consuming them was a good thing. It isn’t and never will be. We can legalize all of it, but make it illegal to promote its consumption, i.e. no advertising, attractive packaging, pot parties or modern equivalents of opium dens. Demonize the stuff, but don’t make them the most profitable substances in our economy.

    • #28
    • November 6, 2015, at 5:28 PM PST
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  29. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Dude! What if J-O-N spelled “Rob”?

    • #29
    • November 6, 2015, at 6:07 PM PST
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  30. Z in MT Member

    Jamie,

    Would you be in favor of removing the illegality of pot on the Federal level but allowing states to keep it illegal?

    What I generally find with Libertarians is that they are NOT Federalists.

    • #30
    • November 6, 2015, at 7:22 PM PST
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