Happy 4/20! 3 Reasons to Legalize Pot Now!

Last year, we released the video above and you know what? Its 3 reasons to legalize pot now are just as strong as they were then. In fact, even more so, given the Obama administration's awful continuing of raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

Here's the original rundown of the vid:

As the United States enters its 72nd year of marijuana prohibition, it's time to consider legalizing pot once and for all, for at least three reasons:

1. The tax revenue and savings in law enforcement costsA 2005 cost-benefit analysis done by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron found that legalizing marijuana and taxing it similar to alcohol would generate over $6 billion in new revenue and save nearly $8 billion in direct law enforcement costs. Pot is already the biggest cash crop in many states; bringing it into the open market would pump all sorts of energy into the economy.

2. It's going to happen anyway, so why delay the inevitable? Increasing numbers of Americans realize that pot prohibition is an ineffective and costly policy. A 2009 poll by Zogby found that 52 percent of Americans agreed that marijuana should be taxed and regulated like booze. A Field Poll last year of California residents, who will vote on a legalization ballot initiative in the fall, found that 56 percent wanted legalization. Other polls show historically high percentages favoring legalization. In a world of busted budgets, it's crystal clear that spending time and energy policing marijuana is not worth it.

3. Keep Your Laws Off Our Bodies. Never mind that by virtually every measure, pot is safer and less than disruptive than booze. Pot prohibition in the 1930s was the result of hysteria, not serious threats to society. We own our bodies and should be free to eat, drink, and smoke what we want. And to take responsibility for our actions, whether we're straight or we're stoned.

Approximately 2.30 minutes long. Written and produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts.

Go to Reason.tv for downloadable versions.

Check out more Reason coverage of the drug war.

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  • The Truth||

    By the time the United States legalizes marijuana and becomes a nation of shiftless, doe-eyed, tubs of goo China will have already taken over as the world's superpower. Your inane ideas of freedom are only hastening your fall from power.

  • Hula-Hoop of Jet Generation ||

    Heh. What are you smoking?

  • Arcaster||

    I'd rather be a shiftless, doe-eyed, tub of goo than a mindless sheep that doesn't question authority. I assume you believe everything the government does or says is correct, right?

  • Contrarian P||

    Yes, because the only thing stopping all of us who don't currently use marijuana is the illegality of it. Have you ever stopped to consider that those who want to use it do already? It's relatively cheap, easily available (more easily than alcohol to minors by the evidence I've seen), and somewhat socially acceptable, particularly in certain circles. Seriously, you really believe that the only reason we all aren't freebasing cocaine, raping coeds, and pillaging the countryside is because there are laws against it?

  • The Truth||

    China is the fastest-growing economy in the world and they have among the strictest drug laws. You think that's a coincidence? Are you really that naive?

  • Silly Me||

    I thought it was what happens when a communist country full of peasants start embracing capitalism.

  • DJF||

    I thought it was when a communist dictatorship could rent out its disenfranchised peasants to international corporations and keep the profits to run its police state which includes draconian drug laws

  • Arcaster||

    They also have a one-child-only policy, no political freedom, and a press run by the state. Should we implement those as well? Might want to check out the difference between causation and correlation.

    BTW, look at their per capita income. They still have a long way to go.

  • Tim||

    There are many differences between the US and China, not just drug laws. They are growing faster because they are starting from a lower level that us. We were growing faster 100 years ago.

  • ||

    I didn't say it was the only reason China will become the greatest superpower on Earth. Why do libertarians insist on letting people destroy themselves and those around them with drugs? The path to prosperity isn't found around a bong.

    China correctly identifies, targets, and destroys human weakness to become something stronger than the US has ever been and will ever be.

  • Arcaster||

    why do people like you insist on using the threat of force to keep me from doing something that isn't any of your damn business?

  • ||

    The problem in the US is just that. It's only a threat of force. In China, it's a promise.

  • The Lie||

    The problem in the US is just that. It's only a threat of force. In China, it's a promise.

  • Arcaster||

    Just so I fully understand you.... you want to shoot people that don't do what you want them to?

  • Juanita||

    I like what you have written here and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • AU H20||

    DA CHINKS SHOOT PEOPLEZ AND WE DON'T!!! BLAME TET STONERZ!!!

    Y'know Truth, just for that- I'm getting high!

  • Tim||

    There goes that fucking non Tim, Tim again...

    Remember, always demand Original Tim.

  • Tim||

    I was here before you.

  • Doc S||

    "China is the fastest-growing economy in the world and they have among the strictest drug laws. You think that's a coincidence? Are you really that naive?"

    This has to be a troll.

  • ||

    Well the US is the fastest growing-economy in the world. China cannot and will not compete with the US in drug production or consumption. Does that make you potheads feel better?

  • Arcaster||

    Not a pot head, but I'm still waiting for you to answer whether or not the government is always right.

    Ready.... Go!

  • ||

    Of course the government is always right. That's what government is for. It's like you don't even understand the most basic of concepts, sheesh.

    the part of "The Truth" this morning was played by waffles

  • Au H20||

    *Removes The Truth's face to reveal wiring underneath*

    It's a robot!! But then that means... someone else is controlling it. Gang, it looks like we have a mystery on our hands!

  • waffles||

    and I would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids.

    Naw, who am I kidding? Myself, that's who. So, legalize it. Nothing changes for me, but just fucking do it already.

  • The Lie||

    Well the US is the fastest growing-economy in the world. China cannot and will not compete with the US in drug production or consumption. Does that make you potheads feel better?

  • Destrudo||

    Of course Truth is a troll. He has ".troll" linked in his name . Waste your time responding to him and you're getting trolled hard.

  • Toolbag||

    Correlation is not Causation.

  • Baffled by Stupidity||

    This guy is a bot right?

  • the ughers in west china||

    what drug laws? pass the opium charlie

  • ||

    Correlation does not equal causation.

    Example:
    "China has the fastest gowing economy in the world and they restrict everyone to only having 1 child." You think that is coincidence?

    doesn't make any sense does it.

  • Fingers||

    Iran has a failing economy and they have among the strictest drug laws. You think that's a coincidence? Are you really that naive?

  • Tim||

    True, that is why we are all complete skid row alcoholics, because alcohol is legal.

  • Tim||

    Excellent point.

  • ||

    I dont need to be a super power, i just want to be free

  • ||

    WOW!

    Your comment seems to imply that folks are not smoking pot because it is illegal, and when legalized it will instantly be used by all.

    The POINT is that the law makes a JOKE of law, as EVERYONE who wants to smoke does so ALREADY.

    Inane ideas of freedom...?

    You think the the concept of owning one's own body is INANE? Intellectually dishonest?

    I think the word does not mean what you think it means...;-)

    BTW, you are a little late on China too.

    Why are so many Americans afraid of other people's freedom?

  • 420||

    Tax it!
    Regulate it!
    Legalize it!

    Why are toxic poisons like alchohol and tobacco legal while a harmless plant isn't?

    CORPORATIONS

  • First of Etiquette||

    Dave's not here, man.

  • Brett L||

    I think you mean: CORPORASHUNS!!!!!1!1!

  • sarcasmic||

    corepourrayshuns

  • IceTrey||

    Don't tax it!
    Don't regulate it!
    Legalize it!

  • Paul||

    This

  • Paul||

    Why are toxic poisons like alchohol and tobacco legal while a harmless plant isn't?

    With this logic, you've already lost.

    Now you know why Marijuana remains illegal. Swapping one measure of prohibition for another is not a starting place for an argument.

  • Doc S||

    Reason 1: $
    Reason 2: $
    Reason 3: $

    Gentlemen, I rest my case.

  • ||

    I bugs me to no end, when libertarians use "increased tax revenue" as the main argument for legalizing pot. When did kicking money up to Uncle Sam become a justification for anything else? Legalizing gay marriage would provide more cash to the state, through license fees. I don't see that argument being made.

    I could care less if legalization would increase, decrease, or maintain revenues to the state. This arguments is insignificant to the moral argument, that I don't need the consent of the government to inhale, ingest or imbibe, any substance I choose, as long as I am the owner, or have the consent of the owner.

  • Robert||

    You don't care, but there are lots of people who do, and who vote.

  • ||

    All while legitimizing "taxation" as a justifiable argument.

  • ||

    The problem with the taxation argument is that it is too easy to grow.

    Folks won't need to buy it.

    The will grow it themselves, and the ones with the REALLY green thumb will 'help' their other friends out.

    Taxation is THEFT.

  • Paul||

    Free2booze wins the thread.

  • waffles||

    I have a serious question regarding drug policy. How many crimes can you be charged with for spiking the water cooler with LSD? I think the office will be getting fairly interesting in about an hour...

  • ||

    If I had to guess, one count for everyone who drank it, everyone who could have drank it, and a terrorism charge on top of that.

    Although, I have to say, even if LSD were fully legal I would support prosecuting someone who spiked a water cooler with drugs.

    btw, I don't think that was a serious question :P

  • Medical mary juana's||

    dont forget about me!

  • ||

    There are some legitimate arguments in favor of legalizing marijuana but let's not act like there wlll not be some ugly consequences. If nothing else, we know that weed is a gateway drug and we can expect the level of addiction to more dangerous substances to increase...and our taxes along with it.

  • Arcaster||

    Seriously? I highly doubt it is a gateway drug. I know dozens of people that have smoked pot and not touched another illegal drug.

  • waffles||

    So marijuana is a gateway drug to higher taxes? Uh, win-the-future?

    I drank a lot of milk as a kid, now I drink quite a bit of beer. It stands to reason that milk is definitely a gateway to alcoholism. Sure, sure gateway drugs. It's not like it has anything to do with black markets, and people surely don't have free will. We are all slaves to the chemicals we put in our bodies.

  • DJF||

    And don’t forget Coca Cola, first you get the kids hooked on caffeine highs and the next step is heroin. [/s]

  • Corporate Drone||

    Really? The ol' gateway-drug slippery slope argument? REALLY?

    Here's the real gateway drug: cigarettes. Discuss...

  • Dirty Old Man||

    Cigarettes are very useful. In high school we used them to tell which girls were putting out.

  • jj||

    For the love of God, please tell me this is a spoof.

  • sarcasmic||

    Marijuana is a gateway to the black market because it is illegal.
    People who buy it are offered other drugs because those who sell it do not follow the law.

    If it were legal then presumably those who sell it would not be offering other illegal drugs anymore than a liquor store does.

    Make it legal and the gateway argument goes away.

  • ||

    The libertarian argument is to legalize all drugs though...

  • ||

    Learning to tie your shoes is a gateway to heroin use. Every current heorin addict learned to tie shoes at some point. Every. One. Of. Them. Think about it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Stupid analogy. I know plenty of people who have tied their shoes but never then used heroin or other illicit narcotics. But every single person I know who ever used marijuana has gone on to kill Sharon Tate.

  • ||

    OK, OK... you got me there.

  • ||

    Really? You used to hang out with the Manson family?

  • ||

    rman, you are incorrect.

    First of all, you can't just generalize something like "ugly consequences." There have been some really ugly consequences to keeping Marijuana illegal, such as 40,000 Mexicans dead in 4 years, or 2 million people in prison, or countless family pets shot to death by police.

    Your personal imagined bogymen do not stand up to that sort of suffering.

    Besides, the implicit assumption in the "ugly consequences" argument is that there aren't any people smoking pot right now. That is obviously false. I would bet my entire worth that you encounter dozens of people who are stoned each and every day without you even realizing it. And you have suffered no "ugly consequences."

  • Cyto||

    But if pot is illegal and we have 40,000 dead Mexicans on our hands, just think of the carnage if we legalize it!

    Actually, I think several administration officials have said exactly this, so I retract my sarcasm. It is like The Onion has taken over the news cycle...

  • ||

    Don't get me wrong, legalized pot or not, the cartels need to be taken out. They are violent criminals and need to be dealt with as such.

    It's just that with a legal industry, the cartels won't be able to defend themselves with limitless amounts of cash.

    Look at it this way, how often do we read about the workers at the Annheiser-Bush factory doing drive-bys on the Coors factory over territory disputes?

  • ||

    I'm sure he suffered some ugly consequences. Every time he turns his back, they laugh at him and say "What a dork".

  • IceTrey||

    In Libertopia there are no taxes.

  • ||

    Urban legend...

    CIGARETTES are the gateway drug!

  • ||

    Gateway drug *laugh*. Marijuana does not make you make decisions. That's like saying I grew up drinking milk so it was my gateway to alcohol. Let's be for real about the situation.

  • mofo||

    "Never mind that by virtually every measure, pot is safer and less than disruptive than booze."

    Less than disruptive than booze? WTF does that mean?

  • Corporate Drone||

    someone's been hittin' the booze.

  • Tim||

    C2H5OH is causally related to reduced inhibition, aggression and violence in many people. Pot has a pacifying effect on most people.

  • DJF||

    That is until they run out of Doritos

  • Tim||

    Quit with the science lesson.

  • Cyto||

    It means that the guys who drink too much beer at the football game get loud and belligerent and start a fight, ruining the game for everyone around them.

    The guys who smoked too much weed got lost at the snack stand and had a giggling fit about the fact that the burger had "three black stripes on it." They missed the 3rd quarter so we had a better view and could put our feet on their seats.

  • Cyto||

    And the number 1 reason to legalize pot....

    1. It's none of your fucking business.

    Every politician should have a plaque with that mantra engraved on it stapled to his forehead. Any time they consider taking control of some aspect of our lives, they can refer to the 2 pound lump of mahogany affixed to their forehead.

  • Arcaster||

    ^ Winner

  • ||

    It's my favorite too.

    all other arguments reek of nanny state mentality.

    Case Closed!

  • NeonCat||

    Don't forget it needs to be backwards so they can read it in a mirror. Otherwise the politicians will insist it's a mandate for reporters and citizens not to inquire into what the pol is doing.

  • waffles||

    Well, we can't legalize pot because then the hippies will have won. We can't have that, can we?

  • bilbo||

    thats a valid point. what if we change the name to monsanto? that outta throw them for a loop thinking its not organic but a modified marijuana

  • Politician||

    But who will save you from yourself?

  • bilbo||

    the problem will be is if we legalize it, the govt would probably subsidize it later.

    Hell im all for legalization of recreational and industrial hemp. based on an economic model only. #s 2&3 are irrelevant after the 1st reason

  • kinnath||

    I've stated this point to many people, when pot becomes legal, John Deere and Iowa farmers will figure out how to grow so much of it, the price will crash. Then the feds will need to step in to support the price of pot to keep farmers happy.

  • ||

    Hell yes! We'll mechanize pot farming faster then you can say "Pass the dutchie"

    I don't think the price would ever 'crash' though, because there is a mountain of demand. I think American pot would become very very cheap, especially relative to Central/South American weed, which would essentially bankrupt the cartels and give home grown weed a monopoly on the market for a least a few years. Until Central/South America also legalized it...

  • Geoff||

    The strongest argument against legalization is that using pot earlier in one's life leads you down a destructive path that dooms you to menial jobs and obscurity for the rest of your life.
    You can easily tell this by looking at those who used pot at one time or the other in their lives:
    Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Buckley... The list of ruined lives is endless!

  • ||

    I dunno. The presidential terms of George W Bush and Barack Obama might make great arguments against drugs. I mean, look how they turned out.

  • ||

    Maybe, but that doesn't change the fact that both were able to the job.

    The title of "Worst President in American History" is still a bigger accomplishment than "Greatest Denny's Night Manager of All Time".

  • Cyto||

    I think there is a case to be made that the careers of these politicians speak more to the drug habits of their constituents than those of the politicians.

    Just sayin'....

  • ChrisO||

    That's debatable. The Denny's night manager actually produces something. The worst president simply eats up tax dollars.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    I'll keep saying it - the correct term is re-legalize. All drugs were legal before 1914.

    And to all you prohibitionists, "because I said so" is a lousy reason to fight a drug war.

  • ||

    But the REAL reason is... wait, what?

  • sarcasmic||

    There simply are not enough violent criminals to justify the number of police, courts, jails, and lawyers in this country.

    So criminals must be conjured out of thin air by making non-violent consensual acts into crimes.

    This way every citizen can be viewed by the police potential criminal, with assets to seize, simply for minding their own business.

    Without drug laws there would be no justification for the police state, prisons would be under capacity, courts would no longer be backlogged, and best of all many lawyers would be forced to find honest work.

    Too bad it will never happen.

  • Arcaster||

    Can you please write that up as a letter to the editor of every newspaper in the US?

  • sarcasmic||

    No, but you can.

  • waffles||

    See! The real reason marijuana is still illegal. Potheads are just too damned lazy.

  • Tim||

    How many dogs have to be shot 33 times before the madness ends?

  • ChrisO||

    And that's just the overt financial reason for the government to maintain prohibition. I've long been amused that narco-corruption only happens in other countries.

  • ChrisO||

    "amused at the notion that", I meant to say. Typing too fast.

  • Tim||

    It's 4/20 and I'm arguing with myself on a pot thread. Or am I?

  • Tim||

    Defining reality down.

  • ||

    ain't that the truth?

  • ||

    1. It's none of your fucking business.

    This is the only answer needed. Utilitarian arguments always beg for other utilitarian contra-arguments.

    Arguing from principle ends the pointless bickering right then and there. If you want to buttress that stand with the billions of dollars/thousands of lives saved, for go for it. But the alpha and omega is that it's none of your fucking business.

  • Cyto||

    I feel a great oneness... like this could be our "Alice's Restaurant" moment.

    I mean, just imagine... if one citizen fired up a joint on 4/20 ... just one citizen. And when the police asked him what he was doing he answered, "It's none of your fucking business."

    Well, they'd cart him off to jail.

    But if two - just imagine for a moment - if two citizens fired up a joint for 4/20 and told the police "It's none of your fucking business."

    Well, they'd think they were gay AND arrest them for possession... but three... three people who fired up a joint and told the police "It's none of your fucking business."
    .. now you've got something. Something covered under RICO.

    And if three, why not 4, 5 or more... all saying "It's none of your fucking business."
    Well, that'd be a revolution. And they'd call in SWAT and open fire and shoot them and their dogs....

    Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all...

  • waffles||

    I think "smoke-ins" have happened before. The usual response is that they are just ignored. In fact, if you live near a city and are white, marijuana is pretty much de facto legal. It's illegal mostly in rural areas and for dangerous minorities.

    Shooting dogs isn't normal.
    But in the Drug War it is.
    War on Drugs. Not even once.

  • Cyto||

    Yeah, smoke-ins happen every year - in public parks, no less. Sometimes there are arrests, sometimes not. But never let semi-obscure facts get in the way of a joke.

    In support of my overall point, I offer this guy who told a cop "I wasn't talking to you," which is a more polite and less confrontational version of "It's none of your fucking business." He wasn't even working a spliff -or doing anything remotely illegal- but he did get carted off to jail. Just keep your inner Arlo Guthrie under wraps. If not for yourself, do it for the dogs...

  • ||

    Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all...

    To be fair, if you told the cop that taxing and regulating pot is better than banning it, or that he should just relax since it's going to be legalized anyway, you'd still be in the pokey.

  • ||

    Can I get a witness!

  • ¢||

    Less than disruptive than booze? WTF does that mean?

    Back in the ol' hysteria days, a common prohibitionist argument was that booze ("rum") unleashed (via the miracle of "rumbustion") the asocial rapin' ape barely contained in the humanoid shell of black people. Y'know, like 4 Loko does to Puerto Ricans in New York? And beer does to sports fans and frat boys everywhere? (Whereas pot makes you President Carl Sagan.)

    Whoever's socially disfavored in the context a prohibitionist is speaking will inevitably be cast as a mindless engine waiting to be gassed into [whatever]-fueled mayhem by [whatever]. Pot-legalizers are a kind of prohibitionists—supporters of a legal distinction between social and antisocial drugs—so they talk like that, too.
    That's what it means.

  • Cyto||

    All true... but the pro-legalization crowd is trying the "you don't have a problem with X, this is less harmful than X" argument to counter the "Drugs must be outlawed because they are harmful" argument.

    There are two rational responses to this argument.

    1. Wow, you're right. We should legalize this!

    2. Wow, you're right. We should also outlaw X immediately! Thanks for bringing that to our attention.

    Fortunately (or not), most people are comfortable with cognitive dissonance and don't feel a need to resolve the conflict between various prohibition decisions.

  • ||

    We have experience with this, it was called Alcohol Prohibition. It failed just as miserably as drug prohibition, and brought with it the same exact consequences. Violence, Corruption, poisonous alcohol, and an overloaded criminal justice system.

  • Paul||

    Fortunately (or not), most people are comfortable with cognitive dissonance and don't feel a need to resolve the conflict between various prohibition decisions.

    The War on Drugs: Subsection Tobacco has come mighty close in the "Thanks for bringing that to our attention" dept.

  • CE||

    Whereas pot makes you President Carl Sagan.

    Wow, cool man.... I'm spending like TRRRRILLIONZZZZZ of dollars....

  • Towelie||

    Don't forget to bring a towel!

    When you're fighting off hordes of Chinese, you can get shot and awful bloody. That why Towelie says- Always bring a towel!

    ...

    ...You wanna get high?

  • Corporate Drone||

    You're a towel.

  • wearescrewed||

    If Obama is harrassing the "medical marijuana" stores in California that's the only thing he is doing right. We are a country of sex, tv, junk food, drug, alcohol and pleasure seeking addicts. We don't need one more addiction to hasten our plunge into selfdestruction.

  • ||

    Yeah you're right "wearescrewed". All we need is more neo-puritans like yourself to enforce their warped view of morality on everyone else they don't like and to use the government and their militarized police thugs as muscle to. The very fact that you implied that marijuana is addictive shows your ignorance. Nanny conservatives and their desire for lifestyle control are bad for America.

  • OO||

    remember the puritans were kicked-out of 2 euro countries before they bravely journeyed here. too bad the iriquois didnt kick em out also

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    Hey, look at it this way.

    Once all those dammed pot smokers selfdestruct then you'll have Utopia all to your prohibitionist self!

    ... "Smokin'!" Hobbit

  • Progressive||

    3. Keep Your Laws Off Our Bodies.

    Whoa..whoa...whoa there. We no longer subscribe to this argument.

  • CE||

    More tax revenue sounds like a reason to not legalize.

  • ||

    Yeah, but the plus side is it moves the issue out of the criminal realm and into the tax debate. That's a plus.

  • ||

    BOSTON (AP) — The odor of burnt marijuana alone is not enough for police to suspect criminal activity and order a person to get out of a car, the state’s highest court ruled Tuesday, citing a state law that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of the narcotic.

    http://boston.cbslocal.com/201.....-activity/

    Chalk one up for MA!

  • Max||

    If pot is legalized, will Gillespie pull the copy of Atlas Shrugged out of his ass?

  • ||

    Very nice Cool

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