When It Comes To Marijuana, The NY Times Is Suddenly A States’ Rights Advocate
You may have already seen the NY Times piece by their editorial board calling for the repeal of federal marijuana laws, referring to them as “prohibition”.
It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.
There is much to fisk and much to agree with in the article. I’ve made the case for and against marijuana in the past, and it really boils down to, in my case, that I really couldn’t care one way or another about marijuana. I’m not going to rehash those arguments here, but I will note that I’ve stated that it should be up to individual States to decide, though Los Federales would still have the ability to stop it from crossing state borders, both domestically and internationally. The editorial is part of a series the Times is running, because nothing else important is going on domestically and internationally, and they move on to this piece by David Firestone
In 1970, at the height of his white-hot war on crime, President Richard Nixon demanded that Congress pass the Controlled Substances Act to crack down on drug abuse. During the debate, Senator Thomas Dodd of Connecticut held up a package wrapped in light-green paper that he said contained $3,000 worth of marijuana. This substance, he said, caused such “dreadful hallucinations” in an Army sergeant in Vietnam that he called down a mortar strike on his own troops. A few minutes later, the Senate unanimously passed the bill.
That law, so antique that it uses the spelling “marihuana,” is still on the books, and is the principal reason that possessing the substance in Senator Dodd’s package is considered illegal by the United States government. Changing it wouldn’t even require an act of Congress – the attorney general or the secretary of Health and Human Services could each do so – although the law should be changed to make sure that future administrations could not reimpose the ban.
Los Federales have also noted that marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence” (mentioned in the article, too). Though, there are virtually no studies which show either physical nor psychological dependence for marijuana. BTW, Thomas Dodd was a Democrat.
Repealing it would allow the states to decide whether to permit marijuana use and under what conditions. Nearly three-fourths of them have already begun to do so, liberalizing their laws in defiance of the federal ban. Two have legalized recreational use outright, and if the federal government also recognized the growing public sentiment to legalize and regulate marijuana, that would almost certainly prompt more states to follow along.
Firestone makes a good case, one which is well reasoned, rational, and doesn’t devolve into Left vs Right politics. I recommend reading the entire piece. Again, legalization doesn’t matter personally to me, as I wouldn’t use it if it was legalized. I find it boring, after years of use in high school and college, and a bit of usage afterwards. What interests me in this is that the NY Times is essentially calling for the repeal of federal laws regarding marijuana use and leaving it up to the States to decide, invoking federalism and the 10th Amendment (without stating them specifically), which is a very American Conservative point of view.
Virtually ever other issue pushed by the Times, as the leading (very liberal) paper in the nation (and the world, of course), invokes the use of federal power, and the primacy of the Central Government. The closest they’ve gotten to States rights is on gay marriage, but, of course, they flay any states that refuse to allow legal gay marriage. Immigration? They flayed Arizona and other states that passed strengthened laws. Voter ID? They flay non-Democrat states that pass those laws. Gun control? They’re thrilled when states pass tough laws, but want federal dominance for those that refuse to do the same, and want Federal law enacted.
So, yes, let the States decide. And be amused that the NY Times is suddenly all for States Rights. Next thing you know they’ll be flying a Gadsden Flag and attending Tea Party rallies.