I’ve been mulling over a few posts on other libertarian blogs about marijuana decriminalization and I want to throw out what I think is a good argument for allowing people to use recreational drugs as they choose and focus on addiction prevention instead of prohibition enforcement:
One of the largest recreational drugs in America is Viagra. No one can say with a straight face that taking a drug that prolongs erections isn’t anything other than a pleasure drug. Users intentionally have sex and the resulting orgasm dramatically increases dopamine levels in the brain, not unlike the effects of using prohibited drugs like marijuana. Viagra is also characteristically “” in the same sense as marijuana — psychologically.
Does anyone know if there are any other kinds of prescription drugs that would fit the description of recreational drugs, based on the previous observation?
UPDATE: In related news, the SCOTUS handed down a judgement today ruling. O’Connor, one of those dissenting, said the federal government was overreaching to endorse “making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one’s own home for one’s own medicinal use.” In an era of increasing centralism (which used to be a liberal/Democrat ideal that has been hijacked by conservatives/Republicans in recent years), this decision shouldn’t be much of a shock, but what is surprising is how apple-pie the ones who seem to be.
UPDATE 2: The plaintiffs are going to defy the ruling anyways.
“I’m going to have to be prepared to be arrested,” said Diane Monson, who smokes marijuana several times a day to relieve back pain.
10-to-1 odds says this guy has his home raided and is carted off within the month. I think the drug war may start heating up and getting lots of press coverage if that happens. The LNC needs to start paying attention here, a well-timed (and toned) press release would do wonders for libertarian visibility.
UPDATE 3: Even Reagan Republicans are having a hard time swallowing the failed War on Drugs. Economist Milton Friedman has come out swinging in favor of marijuana reform:
At 92, Friedman is revered as one of the great champions of free-market capitalism during the years of U.S. rivalry with Communism. He is also passionate about the need to legalize marijuana, among other drugs, for both financial and moral reasons.
“There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana,” the economist says, “$7.7 billion is a lot of money, but that is one of the lesser evils. Our failure to successfully enforce these laws is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Colombia. I haven’t even included the harm to young people. It’s absolutely disgraceful to think of picking up a 22-year-old for smoking pot. More disgraceful is the denial of marijuana for medical purposes.”
He and 500 other economists from around the U.S. today will publicly endorse a Harvard University economist’s report on the costs of marijuana prohibition. The report cites that instead of spending $7.7 billion in combined state and federal spending a year, taxation would yield up to $6.2 billion a year.
UPDATE 4: Coyote Blog points out an interesting duplicity in that the ruling was made on the basis that homegrown weed cut into the profits of illegal intrastate traffickers:
lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department argued to the Supreme Court that homegrown marijuana represented interstate commerce, because the garden patch weed would affect “overall production” of the weed, much of it imported across American borders by well-financed, often violent drug gangs
By the way, think about that for a minute. They are arguing that home-grown weed would “affect” the inter-state commerce of “violent drug gangs”. How would it affect it? It would reduce their commerce! So the feds are claiming purview over home-grown pot because it would, what? Unfairly reduce the inter-state trade of violent drug gangs?