State-level marijuana legalization? Yes!

Posted: September 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Exclusive: Tom Tancredo calls for end of government ‘folly’ regarding pot possession

by Tom Tancredo

  • Friday, September 28, 2012

It’s time to end the misguided and ineffective “war on drugs” insofar as marijuana is concerned, and there are solid reasons why conservatives should join in that effort. It makes sense on so many levels.

There is a long history to this debate, and many conservative leaders have supported legalization. William F. Buckley, the founding editor of National Review magazine and the entrepreneurial godfather of modern American conservatism, supported legalization. So did Barry Goldwater and Milton Friedman. More recently, Sarah Palin, Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck and George Will have voiced support for it.

Eighty years ago the voters of Colorado adopted a measure repealing alcohol prohibition, and one year later, in 1933, the nation followed. Too many conservatives seem to have forgotten that it was state-level experimentation that led to the federal constitutional amendment adopting prohibition in 1920, and afterwards, it was state-level reforms and state-by-state support for repeal that led to abandonment of Prohibition 13 years later.

States can adopt reforms and then learn from their mistakes, unlike the federal government, which never abandons anything once a constituency is entrenched. We need more of the former and less of the latter.

Even after the end of Prohibition nationally in 1933, states retained the option of continuing the prohibition, and in many states even today, counties retain that option. This is the strength and glory of federalism, and we ought to recover and apply that sound conservative principle in the regulation of marijuana.

The value of state authority in the enforcement of government’s plenary police powers is a well-established constitutional principle, and federal courts continue to give states wide latitude in that arena. Why should the regulation of marijuana be treated differently?

In November, here in my home state of Colorado, voters will have the opportunity to be the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use by voting for Proposition 64. Colorado is having a vigorous and very healthy debate on the merits of this proposal, and current public opinion polls show the measure to be winning over a majority of likely voters.


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