Posts Pan Pot Prohibition


The Drug War Chronicle notes that both the Denver Post and Canada's National Post this week editorialized against marijuana prohibition.

The Canadian paper's editorial was prompted by the disparate treatment of two marijuana offenders: an activist who got 90 days in Saskatchewan for passing a joint at a rally and a publicity-seeking Vancouver cafe owner who literally could not get arrested despite selling pot openly for months at her Amsterdam-style coffeehouse. "When our drug laws are enforced so arbitrarily that one individual is imprisoned for trafficking when he did nothing of the sort, even as another feels compelled to contact the media in order to draw attention to the fact that her establishment has sold the same drug over the counter for months without any consequences," the editorial said, "the need for reform is obvious."

The Denver Post went further, calling not just for marijuana legalization but for a wide-ranging rethinking of the war on drugs (even while buying into a few anti-drug myths). The paper was especially impressed that "thoughtful conservatives such as William F. Buckley are joining the call for sweeping reforms." The thing is, Buckley has been questioning the marijuana laws, and the war on drugs generally, for many years, and so has the magazine he founded. Perhaps he should be welcoming aboard the "thoughtful liberals" at the Denver Post.

NEXT: In Praise of Restaurant Meals

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. On topics about terrorism, I compare terrorists to drugs. On topics about drugs, I compare drugs to terrorists.
    Recall recently scientists discovered that revenge tickles the same receptors in the brain that cocaine does?
    So we’ll end these two wars when evolution rids us of those pesky receptors.
    Or maybe sooner if we can evolve away the envy some people have of those folks engaged in tickling those receptors.
    Have scientists discovered the envy receptors that make some folks pass laws to prevent others from having fun?
    What am I smokin’?

  2. “So we’ll end these two wars when evolution rids us of those pesky receptors.”

    Nuclear winter sounds faster.

  3. The first step toward a rational drug policy is, as Buckley eloquently argues, to legalize, regulate and heavily tax the sale of marijuana – with the taxes earmarked to fund treatment programs for victims of truly dangerous drugs.

    Heavily Taxed? Will I need to rob and steal to pay for the tax alone? Maybe the black market isn’t so bad after all!

  4. I suspect that a pot tax will be a political necessity if pot is ever legalized. Yes, yes, I know, a pot tax would coercion and theft, but the situation with legal but taxed pot would still be better than the status quo.

    The key to setting a pot tax is to make it low enough that consumers aren’t willing to take the risk of buying from the black market, and low enough that there’s little incentive to sell on the black market. Surely there must be data on the market for untaxed cigarettes to give some guidance when setting a pot tax. Right now the market for untaxed cigarettes is small (but apparently growing).

    Still, I think the biggest obstacle to pot legalization will be resistance from drug dealers. Many people here think I’m too conspiratorial about it, but I think the pot dealers would do 2 things if legalization ever became a serious possibility:

    1) Fund efforts to defeat the legalization bill. The ads wouldn’t say “I’m John Q. Drug Dealer and I support this message!”, all of the money would come from laundered sources, but it would be there. Don’t believe me? Just read Judge Jim Gray’s book on the drug war. He points to a “dry” county in NV that had a referendum on legalizing liquor sales. The measure was defeated, and most of the ads run against the measure were sponsored by liquor stores in neighboring counties. Those liquor stores stood to lose business if the county went “wet” and allowed new liquor stores to open up.

    2) Pot dealers would probably do everything in their power to worsen the reputation of their business. They’d probably identify their most violent competitors and use their contacts in the police force to arrange a high profile arrest. Maybe they’d identify a pot dealer who also has some kiddie porn and arrange for him to be busted. Maybe they’d arrange for some young kids to smuggle pot across the Mexican border and get caught. (Yes, I know, that may not be the normal method of smuggling, but it would sure get some publicity.)

    Anyway, I’m not holding my breath for any of this to happen.

  5. I still think the idea of people saving their seeds and scattering them in march or april through parks vcacant lots, etc is a good one. I’f they’re not noticed and not harvested, after a few years there will be enough of these weeds to thrive by themselves and way too many for law enforcement to find them all.

    They ARE weeds, aren’t they?

  6. Yeah. What are they smoking at the Denver Post implying Buckley is a Johnny Come Lately?

  7. Regarding Big Bill’s capitulation on The-War-On-Drugs, I remember an interview where he attributed it to the realization that the war was an unwinnable failure. He was insistent that his change of heart wasn’t due to liberal permissiveness, or accession to libertarian principles on his part. Oh, well …

  8. From the BBC:
    The biggest UK study of cannabis-based drugs has shown evidence for a long-term benefit in easing the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

  9. Back in the early 80s I really thought pot would be legal by 2000. Now I realize it will NEVER be legal, what with the pharmaceutical industry bribing…, er, backing politicians financially and the question of what to do with the tens of thousands of cops without any other useful skills who would suddenly not be needed.

    It would be as dangerous as the Weimar Republic!

  10. Hell, in 1989 I thought the Fall of the Wall and winning the Cold War meant the US could take the Peace dividend and demonstrate why we deserved to win — namely, that the rest of the world was now free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness on its own terms, without the threat of nuclear winter hanging over the planet.

    Apparently, The neo-cons have a different agenda (let’s not forget that Wolfowitz et al penned the “Doctrine of Pre-emption” during the first Bush presidency). You’d think they would advocate the end of pot-prohibition as a way to stifle dissent. I mean, let’s face it, Liberals are more likely to smoke weed, and a numb Liberal is a lot less likely to take advantage of the 1st Amendment right to point out what these Dogs of War are doing…Maybe that’s what Buckley has figured out.

  11. –the editorial said, “the need for reform is obvious.”–

    OBVIOUS?! It’s been kicking you in the flipping HEAD for over a GENERATION! you freakin’ idiots!….

    I’m going back to mumbling to myself now.


  12. Meds, Tom, meds.

    I thought it would be legal soon back in 1972. WTF, Nixon, listen to your goddamn Blue-Ribbon committee. Native NYer is right. Marijuana will never be legal in the U.S. Perhaps after a long nuclear winter when everyone’s calmed down a bit…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.