While the jackbooted thugs at the DOJ would have us believe that the front lines in the drug war are the blood-stained streets of America’s inner cities, the most important battle in years is being quietly waged in the desert.
In some ways Nevada is the last bastion of American freedom. Though a far cry from the laissez-faire of my dreams, in portions of Nevada people are permitted to freely engage in peaceful, non-aggressive activities the rest of the states would gleefully jail them for. So it seems rather fitting that an upcoming vote in the Silver State may well mark the beginning of the end of the nonsensical Drug War.
An initiative crafted by the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana, appearing on the November ballot, would amend Title 40 of the state’s Revised Statutes to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults 21 or older. The multi-point initiative defines licensing, manufacturing and sales requirements. The penalty for driving under the influence of marijuana is increased and transporting it across state lines would be criminalized by Nevada law (that should make the blanket appeal to the commerce clause a bit more difficult). The referendum also doubles the penalty for providing cannabis to a minor.
A similar initiative to decriminalize up to three ounces was defeated by Nevada voters in 2002. The earlier campaign clearly lacked the organization, fund raising and palatable limits and wording that the current initiative has. The three ounce limit of the prior campaign was a major issue for the opposition as newscasts repeatedly showed video of people carrying around large bags of marijuana. Despite these difficulties, thirty-nine percent of voters approved the earlier proposal.
Campaign staff member Marco Carbone tells us the current campaign is raising funds to continue radio ads and drive traffic to the Committee’s website where voters can read about the initiative and peruse one of the best FAQs I’ve ever seen. Although the Committee is partially backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, more donations are needed to make voter-approval a reality.
While our lofty goal of a free society remains well out of reach, people are becoming more and more tired of being told how to live their lives.
Alaska’s 2004 initiative for outright legalization garnered forty-four percent of the vote despite the absurd Reefer Madness-style late inning press coverage. Current polls show Alaskans are quite angry after an underhanded attempt by the legislature to re-criminalization marijuana despite the constitutionally protected right of possession.
People are slowly tiring of government’s many excesses, and they are saying so at the ballots. Marijuana laws are on their way out. Laws governing other consensual activities will certainly follow. Both lifelong Republicans and Democrats are growing verbally disgusted with the current political climate.
The Nevada domino may well fall in November; the first of many state vetoes of federal usurpation. What’s good for freedom anywhere is good for freedom everywhere. Don’t fail to help in any way you can just because you don’t live in Nevada.
Somewhere Niemoller is hoping.