Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
(This originally appeared in the Delaware County Times, a Philadelphia suburban newspaper). George Santayana is often credited with saying, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Too bad certain Pennsylvania public officials do not heed his advice, especially on the issue of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. Preview Open
Is America going to pot? Probably. In response to recreational marijuana recently being made legal in Canada and Michigan, and record numbers of Americans supporting legalization, the Young Americans debate whether we should celebrate these trends or be more skeptical of them. Call it a “pot-cast.”
Jeff Sessions Confounds Many with his Anti Marijuana Attitude Opinion Piece in Washington Examiner, by one Siraj Hashmi Sessions’ Anti Marijuana Stance is not only Dumb, but anti Freedom, anti federalism and anti States’ Rights Preview Open
With all the insanity of 2016, marijuana legalization has gone more or less unnoticed in this current election season, except occasionally in association with Gary Johnson. I suppose there are a few reasons for this. There are plenty of other things going on in the news cycle to drown it out. It’s not technically a national […]
Let’s talk about marijuana. On second thought, let’s not. Instead, let’s talk about counterproductive political movements and how they turn people off from otherwise worthwhile messages. The protest this past Saturday outside the White House at which proponents of legalized marijuana decided to light up at 4:20 PM present the worst kind of stupidity. Honestly, grow-up, people. If a bunch of home distilling enthusiasts decided to get drunk in public outside the White House, they would have been arrested. The same should have happened to these yahoos.
As noted in yesterday’s The Daily Shot, the Supreme Court finally ruled in the case of Nebraska and Oklahoma v. Colorado, wherein the former states sued their neighbor for undermining federal drug policy and their own drug prohibitions by legalizing marijuana. Having started a fairly lively conversation when the case was filed, I want to make some observations on the outcome. I suspect it’ll mostly remind people why lawyers drive them crazy. Here, in its entirety, is the court’s majority opinion:
The motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied.
That’s it. Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Alito, dissented:
Last 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.
For a movement that prides itself on nuance, the Left is remarkably — if unsurprisingly — uninterested in questions of cost, externality, and unintended consequences. Once they’ve identified something as a good, the only remaining issue is marshaling the will to see it through; the details will sort themselves out.
The Right, however, generally accepts that life is complicated. Ideas have consequences, we’re apt to say, often with the strong subtext that they’re probably not all those we intended. As such, we’re more likely to resist the urge to fuss with (seemingly) imperfect things, lest we discover afterwards that they were far more beneficial than we understood or appreciated.
But this can cut the other way too. In the current issue of National Review, our own — how I love saying that — Kevin Williamson brings up an interesting example of this sort of reverse–Chesterton fence in his report on the effects of Colorado’s marijuana legalization:
On Tuesday, and with little fanfare (maybe that’s because smoke has a hard time wafting down from the Last Frontier to the Lower 48), Alaska became just the third state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana use. Oregon and Washington D.C. also approved recreational marijuana last year, joining Colorado and Washington State, which broke ground in 2012. D.C.’s law will likely go into effect by week’s end. Oregon law won’t change until later this year.
Voters approved the notion by a 52%-48% margin, but left it to lawmakers to work out the kinks in allowing adults to legally partake in the herb in private places. And under the category of can’t smoke ‘em if you don’t got ‘em: it’ll be a while before Alaskans will be making a purchase.