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Thursday, November 4, 2010

What if we're going about legalization in the wrong way?

Okay-- let me confess that this goes against my exhortation to my fellow democrats that we move towards the center in our effort to rehabilitate the Obama presidency and our left wing brand, but hear me out.

I say we should stop trying to push decriminalization/legalization incrementally. I say we begin pushing for the legalization of all drugs on many bases, but most particularly, in the vein of its benefit to our fiscal condition. I understand that there are many obstacles to the legalization of drugs that have little to do with economics, but I still think we are shooting ourselves in the foot by trying to push legalization of marijuana by itself. I understand there is a vast difference,  mind you, between smoking a joint and injecting heroin into one's veins, but I still think we are feeding into the puritanical strain of America by making the issue one of marijuana first-- counterintuitive as it may seem, I think this draws attention to the dangers of drugs (a crucially important issue but one that leads voters to fear the decriminalization movement) when what we need in order to pass such legislation is a more comprehensive movement towards liberalization of our drug policies. We should not allow this era of super debt and deficits to pass us by without using it to make a leap forward in our national drug policy.

Mind you, one of the selling points for this policy change ought to be the fact that if this solution truly fails, then the prospects for changing it are good-- consider how difficult it is to amend the constitution, and then think about the fact that we amended it twice to deal with out policy towards alcohol. The same would be true with our policy towards illegal drugs. And it's clear, I think, that our current policy regarding the war on drugs has not succeeded; it's been nearly forty years since President Nixon first declared it, and now, we need to save the tax dollars we spend fighting the illegal traffic, and we similarly need the tax dollars we could gain if we legalized their use and sale.

1 comment:

  1. The argument for the end of Prohibition was also coupled with the argument that the legal sale of alcohol would increase government revenues (and, also, make the income tax unnecessary...), according to "No Closing Time for Income Taxes": http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/opinion/13okrent.html?scp=1&sq=prohibition+alcohol+tax&st=nyt

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