Friday, May 8, 2009

UPDATED: Decriminalize Marijuana

I wrote this posting in March regarding the decriminalization of marijuana to which Jacob and Black Dude made some good comments in response.

Here is a great article by Daniel Flynn that addresses the concerns I pointed out regarding the introduction of government into the drug business. Flynn argues that legalization and regulation would actually drive the price of marijuana higher, and concludes that decriminalization (the commonly-accepted definition, not mine) is the best (least worst) solution.

Black Dude wrote on March 21, "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 don't believe that small steps against a tyrannical government is effective or approaches any favorable solution. Imagine if small steps were taken against King George in the 18th Century - do you really think that true independence could have been attained? To ask is to answer.

And before the rebuttal is given that they were dealing with a tyrannical monarchy whereas we are living in "fair" system of "democracy", check out Hans Hermann Hoppe's book Democracy: The God That Failed (summarized here).

To conclude, Flynn has done a great job of categorically rejecting the notion of legalization but holds decriminalization as the de facto solution. The only real solution is to completely reject the involvement of the state into the drug (and all other) business altogether. Small steps will not be sufficient to save this fatally damaged ship, but an attainable goal is to save the life boats. To do so, one must first acknowledge that the ship is unsalvagable and allow for the life boats to be deployed.

I'd like to use this piece to open up a dialogue in the comments section with Jacob, Black Dude, and all others.


  1. a quote from the article:
    "What are stoners smoking that makes them advocate less available, more expensive, and highly bureaucratized marijuana? That’s the question provoked by any sober reading of the various proposals to legalize marijuana."

    I disagree with the first 2 of the author's assumptions on this one.
    Starting with more expensive argument... the proposed tax on high THC weed is $250/ounce. That isn't that bad. If you want 1/8 of an ounce of good weed now it will cost you $50-$60. That is $400/ounce. And it is not always very easy to come by. If it was legalized, there will be many more non-commercial growers. The fact that it is a weed allows it to be easily grown by anyone, anywhere. The only people that it might be less available to are underage kids because of the age laws that will be put into place. As far as the bureaucratized argument goes... I would rather have strict laws about the commercial production and taxation of marijuana than have the ultimate law of throwing people in prison. No doubt, there will be more money going to the government from the taxation of marijuana, but it will also cut out billions in government spending by eliminating DEA, state police, and prison funding.
    I might also mention that the tax numbers mentioned in this article refer to the State of Massachusetts. The similar bill in California taxes $50/ounce (less than $7 per 1/8 ounce).

  2. i guess no one else has an opinion...

  3. I guess the struggle that I have is a struggle that many libertarians have, and that is the question of accepting a small step toward liberty instead of demanding for a complete abolition of the state's stranglehold on the masses. In this case, we are granting legitimacy to the idea that the state should have ANY involvement whatsoever in the drug industry.

    And I would further argue that it would not necessarily eliminate DEA, state police, and prison funding as you claim. We are only talking about one of the endless number of "drugs" the state has declared illegal. The state has an uncanny way of extorting more taxpayer funds regardless of their justification or necessity. If the state feels that it must drum up more justification and thus more funding, it will declare another product illegal. Cigarettes are becoming contraband and will soon require more state parasites to enforce these new laws.

    Small steps toward perceived freedom that include compromises and government consent are inconsistent with true liberty minded pursuits. William Lloyd Garrison said "Gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practice."