John Tierney’s New York Times opinion column today (available, unfortunately, only to Times-Select subscribers) addresses some of the political problems that the Drug War crusaders have had with libertarian voters and others.
Basically there’s a fundamental problem with being both anti-Big Government, and supporting our current drug policy. Also, it’s hard to shout “leave it up to local control”, when local support is overwhelmingly in favor of issues like medical marijuana, but Washington pols want to override state laws.
Focusing on marijuana prohibition (“the chief priority of the current drug czar”), Tierney also addresses some of the fear mongering that Drug War supporters continually engage in, by providing us with some basic facts:
When Californians approved one of the first medical marijuana laws, in 1996, drug warriors were so convinced it would lead to a catastrophic spike in illegal use by teenagers that they sponsored a study to document the damage. But there was no catastrophe: after the law, marijuana use by teenagers actually declined in California.
In the decade since, as the Marijuana Policy Project documented in a recent study, popular support for legalized medical marijuana has increased in California and in virtually every other state with a similar law. Last year it was favored by 78 percent of respondents in a Gallup poll.
There’s no need for those of us who are ashamed of, embarrassed by, and angry with our current moronic policy of wasting tax dollars imprisoning marijuana users to remain quiet. We are in the majority. Shout it from the rooftops if you have to: Decriminalize Marijuana!