Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Decriminalize Marijuana

One of the increasingly ubiquitous topics saturating the news headlines and postings on this site has been the topic of marijuana legalization. There are seemingly endless reasons to end the war on drugs, specifically the war on marijuana. However, this particular posting will focus on speaking to those who agree that the federal laws on marijuana are repressive and antiquated yet are not ready to take a principled and uncompromising stand against the state which has persecuted users of a plant that was legal until a massive propaganda machine convinced congress to criminalize it in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act.

Let me first start by saying I have never liked the term legalization applied to the drug topic because it suggests the natural state would be illegal were it not for the permission and access granted by the benevolent government. I prefer the term decriminalization because it correctly asserts it has been artificially forbidden and is now returned to its native state of legality.

A friend recently pointed out there actually is a definitive difference between the two terms. The prime difference is that decriminalization removes criminal charges but leaves intact associated laws and regulations, whereas legalization is the process of removing a legal prohibition against something which is not currently legal.

What good does it do to remove criminal charges and still punish a user with a ticket and a fine? The state gets the best of both evil worlds because it can continue to murder and pillage by means of the expensive and expansive drug war, all the while appeasing the compromising masses who are satisfied with the superficial removal of criminal charges; meanwhile, the state continues to line its coffers with the fine-generated revenue plundered from the "non-criminals". If a "non-criminal" refuses to fork over the booty, will the state not then declare him a criminal?

Notwithstanding the dictionary distinction between the two, I will continue to use my definition of decriminalization and emphasize that my definition includes the removal of any and all prohibition.

I have been pleasantly surprised when reading online news articles to see the number of reader comments supporting the decriminalization of marijuana. However, I find it troubling that there are those who believe marijuana should not be illegal but at the same time maintain the thought process "the law is the law and we should obey it. If you don't agree with the law, it must be changed first before you break it."

This idiom is ridiculous and senseless because it turns everyone into sheep and suggests we must go with the flow and wait for our compassionate leaders to change an oppressive law. Civil disobedience has played a role throughout history and proves that often there must be a pioneer who was not comfortable with the status quo and used the court system to challenge the law, rather than waiting for the legislators.

These trail blazers must be supported and embraced as the heroes and patriots they are, not hypocritically chastised by those who shallowly agreed with their principle but not their practical implementation.

Note: I realize there is a dangerously slippery slope with respect to judicial review, but the ultimate compass in which a law's legitimacy is rooted should be its focus on the preservation of individual liberty (some say the barometer should be its constitutionality, but we see how that document has been bastardized and disregarded).

We must further expunge the proposition that marijuana be legalized and then regulated and taxed. All you have to do is look at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to realize the state is history's worst body of drug regulators. Confidence in the ability of the FDA to effectively regulate the "legal" drug market hit an all-time low by even the state's standards when the Supreme Court ruled drug companies can still be sued despite having received the FDA's blessing. Even the state doesn't trust the state!

And those who truly support the relinquishing of the state's stranglehold of the serfs cannot be taken seriously when they advocate the taxation of marijuana. All this accomplishes is the substitution of one form of tyranny for another. The state will then possess amplified financial means to perpetrate even more oppression against the people, thus perpetuating the vicious despotic cycle fueled by complacency.

Those that support the decriminalization of marijuana must employ a systematic approach that is unequivocal and absolute, and must not yield to those who hold a position open to negotiation. The battle for liberty cannot be half-heartedly fought, for I can assure that that the enemy of liberty, the state, is focused and dedicated in their unrelenting march toward power and totalitarianism.


  1. Great post. I certainly agree with everything you say in principle. But I think you'll have a much harder time convincing people that drugs need to be decriminalized, while not reaping any of the tax benefits. People seem to REALLY like the idea of the government collecting money from people's vices. It might not be right, but I don't think there will be any change unless you allow the government to tax. They may be half-hearted, but it's also a bit more realistic.

  2. I agree that finding practical solutions is something that must be considered, given the arena in which we play. But look at the latest mess with cigarette taxation. Cigarettes, a legal product, are being taxed to the point where an effective black market has been created in many parts of the country. Lawmakers unabashedly brag about the reasons why the higher taxes are being imposed, and that is because they don’t think people should be doing it. Sure, they sprinkle in a little bit of reactionary reasons like “healthcare revenue” and “educational materials for the children”, etc. That is just to keep the sheep focused on the direct relationship between increased taxes and the feel-good programs funded.

    What good does it do to legalize and tax when you know that somewhere down the line (maybe even sooner than later) the taxes will become so high that it might as well be illegal? We have traded one oppression for another, only this time the government gets even richer. If you give an inch, they take a mile. History must be our guide and we must learn from previous examples.

  3. My opinion on the matter is that it should be completely legal at the federal level with no regulation and no taxation. That should be left up to the States to decide. The West Coast states will certainly legalize it, and that will cause a domino effect to the rest of the country. The legislation that Cali is trying to get passed right now allows the non-commercial use of up to 10 plants to be grown and used for personal use without taxation, and a tax of $50 per ounce on commercially sold weed. If they over-tax it, there will be a point where they lose revenue because more and more people will just grow it themselves. But I'm just ready for the arrests to be over with.

    The State gains power very sneakily with small steps that continually build over time. The more fear they can create, the bigger steps they can take. I think that we're going to have to do the same thing to take that power back. We'll have to start with small, accumulating steps. The more educated the people become, the more willing they will be to take the bigger steps.

    I guess my conclusion is that where the state's weapon is fear, ours is education. How quickly things will turn the right direction depends on how fast we can educate others. The internet and word-of-mouth are about our only tools right now, so it will be a generational change I think.