Drug Policy

Palin's Pot Problem

Why should other Alaskans be arrested for something Sarah Palin once did with impunity?

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When it comes to questions about youthful marijuana use, Sarah Palin is no Slick Willie. "I can't claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled," the Republican vice presidential candidate told the Anchorage Daily News in 2006, before she was elected governor of Alaska.

Although Palin's handling of the issue scores higher on the candor meter than Clinton's, she has the same difficulty reconciling her personal experience with her policy positions, a problem also shared by former pot smoker Barack Obama. None of them has a persuasive answer to the question of why other Americans should be arrested for something they did with impunity.

Pot smokers who are arrested do not typically spend much time in jail. But as a 2007 report from the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics noted, they pay a substantial cost that includes not only public humiliation and legal expenses but collateral sanctions such as "revocation or suspension of professional licenses, barriers to employment or promotion, loss of educational aid, driver's license suspension, and bars on adoption, voting and jury service."

According to figures released by the FBI this week, about 873,000 people were arrested on marijuana charges in the United States last year, a new record. Pot busts accounted for nearly half of the 1.8 million drug arrests; as usual, the vast majority, about 775,000, were for simple possession, as opposed to cultivation or sale.

This is the fifth year in a row that marijuana arrests have increased, but the upward trend began in the early 1990s. Three times as many people were arrested on marijuana charges last year as in 1991.

The increase in arrests does not correspond to an increase in use; instead, the chance that any given pot smoker will be busted (though still small) is much higher than it was two decades ago. It is also higher than when Palin attended college in the '80s, which is presumably when she tried marijuana.

By way of extenuation, the Anchorage Daily News reported, Palin noted that marijuana "was legal under state law," although "illegal under U.S. law." In 1975 the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution, which says the "right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed," prohibits the government from punishing people for possessing small amounts of marijuana in their homes.

A 1990 ballot initiative ostensibly recriminalized all marijuana possession, but in 2003 the Alaska Court of Appeals ruled that "a statute which purports to attach criminal penalties to constitutionally protected conduct is void." The following year, the Alaska Supreme Court declined to hear the state's appeal of that decision.

In 2006 the state legislature, at the urging of Palin's predecessor, Frank Murkowski, passed another law that supposedly made private possession of marijuana for personal use a crime. A judge found that law unconstitutional as well, and the Alaska Supreme Court is considering an appeal of her ruling.

The upshot is that smoking marijuana in the privacy of one's home is just as legal in Alaska today as it was when Palin did it. Evidently she regrets this situation.

As mayor of Wasilla in 2000, Palin championed a city council resolution opposing a ballot initiative that would have legalized marijuana for adults. Last March her administration asked the Alaska Supreme Court to reverse its 1975 decision shielding private marijuana use, arguing that the drug is more dangerous than it used to be.

In other words, Palin got to smoke pot without worrying about legal consequences and now wants to deny that assurance to fellow Alaskans doing exactly the same thing. "Palin doesn't support legalizing marijuana," the Anchorage Daily News reported in 2006, because she worries about "the message it would send to her four kids."

It's Palin's job to teach her children that certain pleasures are reserved for grownups. The government should not continue to arrest adults who are harming no one simply because her children are easily confused.

© Copyright 2008 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

NEXT: We Have Ways of Making You a Criminal

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  1. None of them has a persuasive answer to the question of why other Americans should be arrested for something they did with impunity.

    “I’m scared as hell that the colossal block of ancient voters will vote for someone else unless I totally repudiate my history by backing pointless and draconian laws” isn’t persuasive? It’s helped persuade people to get all three of them to elective office.

    It’s Palin’s job to teach her children that certain pleasures are reserved for grownups. The government should not continue to arrest adults who are harming no one simply because her children are easily confused.

    QFMFT

  2. something she once did with impunity

    I mostly agree with Jacob’s sentiment, but one minor quibble.
    From the story: “Palin noted that marijuana ‘was legal under state law'”.

    Engaging in legal behavior is hardly doing it “with impunity.”

    impunity exemption or freedom from punishment, harm, or loss

    This definition does not fit her actions at the time.

  3. So is Obama for legalizing cocaine?

  4. impunity: exemption or freedom from punishment, harm, or loss

    What’s the problem with saying that she did it with impunity if it was legal under state law and illegal under federal law? The state law granted her impunity from the federal one.

    Too bad the same reasoning doesn’t count in California.

  5. If the Enquirer’s right, and they keep being right lately, it’s her kids doing the toking…The news media’s trying to ignore it, but it’s there in every checkout line at every grocery store.

  6. Marijuana prohibition is a counter productive fraud that enriches blackmarketeers and police organizations at the expensive of the lives and freedom of the people.

    There simply IS NO valid or even “good faith” position for marijuana position. That’s why they fall back on flat out deception such “marijuana is stronger today than it was” (well no shit! that makes it SAFER dumbass because you inhale less smoke) or feel good platitudes like “sending the wrong message to children”. (Yeah, arresting and ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have harmed no one is the RIGHT message?!)

    The facts are against them, the moral high ground is against them and yet they continue this fraud which only encourages children to use harder drugs once they find out how much they’ve been lied to about marijuana.

  7. I think it’s time for another traveling drug-message circus. It seems like the message didn’t get through to some of you last time around that drugs are BAD.

  8. “Palin doesn’t support legalizing marijuana,” the Anchorage Daily News reported in 2006, because she worries about “the message it would send to her four kids.”

    What, Trig doesn’t count?*

    Just once, I’d like a journalist to ask of a politician who says this: “well, what message is that, exactly?” I’d be fascinated to hear their answer.

    * yes I know he wasn’t born yet

  9. Technically drug use is not illegal under federal law because there is absolutely no power granted to the federal government to regulate or control any drugs. An amendment to the constitution was required for Alcohol prohibition so at least then, the constitution was respected. For any federal drug law to be legal, drugs would need to be criminalized under an amendment.

  10. “…which only encourages children to use harder drugs…”

    “So is Obama for legalizing cocaine?”

    Interesting points. But if the “right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed,” is faithfully applied then it would seem to imply that it’s unconstitutional for the government to punish people for possessing small amounts of all drugs which are otherwise illegal – not even just cocaine.

    State’s Rights. Republicans used to be for them (a 50 republic experiment in democracy) but it’s pretty much political suicide for a major party candidate to be for legalizing any drugs currently on DEA Schedules. Even Barr’s voting record indicates that he has been against them in them in past.

    End the War on Drugs.

  11. But if the “right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed,” is faithfully applied…

    Did I sleep through a goddamned constitutional amendment? AGAIN?

    Fuck!

  12. she now opposes marijuana legalization and favors the arrest of other Alaskans for something she once did with impunity.

    Isn’t that standard behavior for soccerhockey moms? That is why we get all the news stories about what “your kids” are doing at college, right?

  13. The War on Drugs is the main reason I’m voting for Barr-Root instead of switching to McCain-Palin.

  14. Just once, I’d like a journalist to ask of a politician who says this: “well, what message is that, exactly?” I’d be fascinated to hear their answer.

    Oh come now, Epi. You *know* what the answer is!

    “I don’t want to send the message that some drugs are okay, because then kids will think that if some drugs are okay, others are okay to try.”

    Never mind that it doesn’t make much sense. This has been *the line* for the last fifty years.

  15. Obama freely admits to doing a lot of cocaine when he was young. As far as I know he doesn’t intend to legalize the stuff or do much of anything about the drug war. Will we get a post on Obama’s cocaine problem anytime soon? I am not holding my breath.

  16. If either Obama or Palin came out and said they wanted to legalize Marijuana, they would be destroyed. If Obama said it the right would paint him as a pot smoking ROTC building bombing 60s radical. If Palin said it, the media would paint her as some wierdo Alaska separtist and Andrew Sullivan would be writing about how her pot smoking caused her son’s down syndrome.

    Let’s be honest here, as long as they plan to run a real rather than symbolic campaign, no politician can come out for legalizing drugs. It is sad but true.

  17. The fact that we can’t find many politicians who haven’t used illegal drugs is a bug, not a feature. As I mentioned in my first post, they know this part of their past will be mentioned, and they go psychotically overboard as drug warriors lest they scare away the votes of ancient doddering cretins that infest our polling booths.

  18. Oh come now, Epi. You *know* what the answer is!

    I don’t think that they even think that far any more. I think that this answer has become so de rigeur that it is just regurgitated with no thought. That’s why I’d like to see a journalist ask, because if the politician stumbles, I’m right.

    Andrew Sullivan would be writing about how her pot smoking caused her son’s down syndrome

    Now that’s funny.

  19. “Did I sleep through a goddamned constitutional amendment? AGAIN?”

    It’s in the Alaskan constitution. RTFA.

  20. John —

    Except the left has always been closer than the right to legalization logic, because while the left is in the grip of utilitarianism (with all the semi-gross things that that entails), the right wants to ban marijuana “cause it’s just wrong”.

    And so one position can be prevailed upon with evidence, while the other is just about as unassailable as a brick wall.

  21. John, it’s possible, but it has to be done by someone pretty square. Chris Dodd would have had a chance, since no one is going to credibly paint him as a hippy. Tom Tancredo’s Federalist approach to drug crime would have provided another solution.

    And neither one of these politicians lost in the primary due to their poisiton on the drug war.

  22. Epi @ 9:31

    Point.
    —————–
    It’s in the Alaskan constitution. RTFA.

    RTFA? RTFA?! What are you, some kind of elitist?

    Srsly. Ridiculous.

  23. “Technically drug use is not illegal under federal law because there is absolutely no power granted to the federal government to regulate or control any drugs.”

    The simple act of use, perhaps not, but possession most certainly is (though I fail to see how you can use drugs without first possessing them). The federal power to regulate drugs is granted under the Commerce Clause. Not that I like or agree with the overreaching use of the Commerce Clause as a basis for anything Congress wants to do, but technically, thats where it comes from (see Gonzalez v. Raich).

    Thanks for playing though…

  24. LOL, I got a feeling she still fires up a big fat one on regular occasions. Im pretty sure her knocked up teenage daughter smokes pot as well (among other things LOL)

    Cluster
    http://www.anonymize.us.tc

  25. (though I fail to see how you can use drugs without first possessing them)

    Before idiotic “internal possession” laws, it was very possible to smoke your friend’s weed. Just because you hand someone something that you own so they may use it, it doesn’t mean possession automatically transfers from you to them.

  26. Here’s a question. Now that the Feds have used the Commerce Clause to regulate and ban drugs, if they wanted to ban alcohol again, couldn’t they do so exactly the same way without passing a Constitutional Amendment? It would be beyond ridiculous because if they had to do it before they have to do it now, but we have gone beyond ridiculous because they did it with drugs.

  27. RTFA, indeed. If I read one more article that even contains the words “Sarah Palin” my head will surely explode, and I don’t have a spare keyboard. Could we get Radley back to writing about “isolated incidents”? Pleeeease?

  28. Before idiotic “internal possession” laws, it was very possible to smoke your friend’s weed

    It was also possible to scarf down all the joints you had before the police had a chance to search you. If they weren’t on your person, no possession, even if they were in your stomach (how could they prove it) or bloodstream (no warrant, no blood test). Times have changed.

  29. John-

    A “real” campaign? What is that?

  30. What is the big deal if she smoked some pot when she was young? Most people her age have. Regardless, just because many people do something wrong doesn’t make it right. She was lucky to have not been caught, but that doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be punished for illegal conduct. I agree that it is necessary to keep drugs illegal because I don’t think children should use drugs and their illegality sends the message to children that it is wrong to use drugs. If pot was legal then children wouldn’t know better than not to use pot, it would send the wrong message.

  31. Epi,
    It wouldn’t be that difficult. I think they would just have to classify alcohol as a controlled substance. The CSA having not been enacted in 1920.

    The big problem would be the backlash from all the people who suddenly can’t crack a cold one. However, even this would be easy to overcome by phasing it out incrementally. Increasing tax, restricting licensing, limiting purchases etc. If done right we could completely prohibit the sale of alcohol in the US within two years with no significant pro booze movement.

  32. Kablammo-

    That the courts and other legal “scholars” have heralded the commerce clasue as the vehicle by which the feds can ban the use and poseesion of pot is proof that the ruling class and its academic factotums are intellectual lightweights.

  33. Just because you hand someone something that you own so they may use it, it doesn’t mean possession automatically transfers from you to them.

    Unfortunately not true in NY, passing a joint is considered dealing. Dealing considers distribution and not necesarily money exchange.

  34. “Now that the Feds have used the Commerce Clause to regulate and ban drugs, if they wanted to ban alcohol again, couldn’t they do so exactly the same way without passing a Constitutional Amendment?”

    Yep, but back in 1919 when the 18th amendment was ratified, the courts hadn’t started using the commerce clause as a constitutional basis of authority for every hairbrained legislative and regulatory scheme some authoritarian idiot in congress could dream up. That crap didn’t start until around 1942 with Wickard v. Filburn.

  35. Why am I drawn to these Palin threads? Oh, well, I knew about the pot-laws-versus-Alaska-Constitution thing before I even knew that the name “Palin” was attached to a female governor.

    “right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed”

    At least Alaska’s Constitution – unlike, say, the federal Constitution – has a generalized, judicially-enforceable right to privacy, so the state high court (ha!) is less open to accusations of activism for enforcing such a right. In fact, they would be open to accusations of activism if they *failed* to protect privacy when necessary.

  36. Karen-

    Too funny.

  37. If done right we could completely prohibit the sale of alcohol in the US within two years with no significant pro booze movement

    I severely doubt that, Warren. It could happen if all the politicians in charge decided that it had to happen, and their re-election be damned, but that would never come about, so forget it. Drug prohibition was a) incremental, b) targeted minorities, and c) was aided by the commerce clause bullshit. If the commerce clause hadn’t been blown so wide open, federal drug prohibition would have been impossible.

  38. “A “real” campaign? What is that?”

    One that actually wants to win as opposed to scoring political points and making emotionally satisfying political stunts.

  39. The bigger question is why should Sarah Palin be crucified every which way she goes on this issue?

    In her race for Lt. Gov. in 2004 and later for Governor, the social cons, started a whisper campaign that Sarah was actually a “closet libertarian” who favored pot legalization.

    Now, here we are 2 to 4 years later and she’s being smacked from the other side of the issue.

    Holy man! Give the woman a break.

  40. DONDERROOOOOOOO

  41. “That the courts and other legal “scholars” have heralded the commerce clasue as the vehicle by which the feds can ban the use and poseesion of pot is proof that the ruling class and its academic factotums are intellectual lightweights.”

    Intellectual lightweights? Maybe so, maybe not. Rather, I think they simply recognized that the CC could be the perfect tool to allow the federal government to get involved in anything they want without having to search for a real basis of authority (which doesn’t otherwise exist in many cases). They wanted a means to insert the federal government’s authority in almost every aspect of our lives; I doubt they were really interested in the intended limits of federal legislative authority through the CC. However wrong it may be, they nevertheless got their wish by twisting the meaning of the CC. Does that make them intellectual lightweights? Perhaps so, but its achieved their goal quite handily, hasn’t it?

  42. It takes a great deal of intellectual flexibility to route around plain words on paper with other words, and some facility with language and critical thought to make things mean the opposite of what they say.

    They are not intellectual lightweights.
    They are fucking assholes.

    Please use the proper terminology in the future.

  43. I stood in parking lots in the winter in Alska campaigning for smaller government! I am the one who is really doing something for libertarains! You snot nosed kids don’t know a damn thing about libertarianism!

  44. The only person on the major party tickets that is not a drug war hypocrite is Joe Biden. He’s a War on Drugs Minorities asshole, but to my knowledge he’s not a hypocrite on the issue.

  45. What, Trig doesn’t count?

    …her children are easily confused.

    She must have had incredible foresight, somehow knowing she would have an “easily confused*” child.

    *We just invented a new P.C. term

    (though I fail to see how you can use drugs without first possessing them)

    Or how you can possess without first cultivating or purchasing. Oh, that’s right. At THAT point in the supply chain, Magical Jesus takes over the dirty work. Problem solved!

  46. If the commerce clause hadn’t been blown so wide open, federal drug prohibition would have been impossible.

    Initially, yes. Post-1961 Single Convention, maybe not. That shit was Anslinger’s wet dream come true.

  47. We just invented a new P.C. term

    Yes. I like it.

    Oh, that’s right. At THAT point in the supply chain, Magical Jesus takes over the dirty work

    Actually, at that point, you just affected interstate commerce. Somehow.

  48. Initially, yes. Post-1961 Single Convention, maybe not. That shit was Anslinger’s wet dream come true.

    What a depressing read. Thanks a lot, sadist.

  49. The main argument of the article is illogical. A person could have smoked weed in the past, be in favor of it being illegal, and not be a hypocritical, inconsistent, or a jackass. ‘

    By analogy, the main argument against Palin is like saying that if John McCain physically abused his first wife, he should be in favor of the legalization of spousal abuse.’

    So, say, Obama or Palin would be OK if they said that their past drug use was wrong/immoral, and drugs should be illegal.

  50. “The main argument of the article is illogical. A person could have smoked weed in the past, be in favor of it being illegal, and not be a hypocritical, inconsistent, or a jackass. ‘”

    How does that work out? How can someone who engaged in a behavior think it’s a-ok to tell other adults that they can’t make the same decision? Sounds like the definition of jackass?

  51. “How can someone who engaged in a behavior think it’s a-ok to tell other adults that they can’t make the same decision?”

    If the behavior in question really should be illegal in the first place. Do you think it’s logical that murderers should be in favor of the legalization of murder? Whether I think something should be legal or not has nothing to do with whether I’ve ‘gotten away’ with it in the past.

    Maybe my argument will sound more reasonable if I tell you that I’m absolutely in favor of drug legalization? I’m just pointing out that this particular argument doesn’t hold water.

  52. “It’s Palin’s job to teach her children that certain pleasures are reserved for grownups.”

    Well she didn’t do a very good job with that when it comes to her slut daughter. So I wouldn’t expect her to do too well when it comes to drugs either. Hasn’t there been reports that her son went into the military because of a drug problem?

  53. “If the behavior in question really should be illegal in the first place…”

    Drug use doesn’t harm another person. Murder definitely does. It’s not a good analogy.

    My issue is with one adult telling another what they can and can’t do.

    “Whether I think something should be legal or not has nothing to do with whether I’ve ‘gotten away’ with it in the past”

    The person in this situation is certainly in no position to make the decision for someone else. Believing something should be illegal is much different than acting to make it or keep it illegal.

  54. So with the banks being nationalized, will there now be shady looking guys in back alleys selling insurance for financing loans?

  55. How does that work out? How can someone who engaged in a behavior think it’s a-ok to tell other adults that they can’t make the same decision? Sounds like the definition of jackass?

    If they are born again through the grace of the FSM?

  56. Thanks a lot, sadist.

    Just doing my part. (That, and apparently Cronenberg has completely desensitized me. Tipper Gore was right!!)

    If you’re not familiar with Anslinger’s career (and have a strong stomach), check it out. It’s obviously an oversimplification to pin the entire drug war on one man (read: beware the conspiracy theorists), but this particular man played a big part.

    My take is that he was the quintessential bureaucrat who found the perfect combo of public moral panic to capitalize on.

  57. “If the behavior in question really should be illegal in the first place…”

    Drug use is wrong and it needs to be illegal to prevent addiction and to send the right message to children.

    Drug use doesn’t harm another person. Murder definitely does. It’s not a good analogy.

    It is a good analogy, they are both felonies. Murder harms someone, drug use harms society. Also, most murders are drug related.

    My issue is with one adult telling another what they can and can’t do.

    So it should be legal to rape, murder, steal?

    “Whether I think something should be legal or not has nothing to do with whether I’ve ‘gotten away’ with it in the past”

    Sure, if her life was harmed by pot, she is in a good position to know what laws are needed to prevent others from doing what she did.

    The person in this situation is certainly in no position to make the decision for someone else. Believing something should be illegal is much different than acting to make it or keep it illegal.

    Not really.

  58. Bill, that report’s in The Enquirer, and the rest of the media HATES getting scooped by the likes of them, so even if it’s true (and I STRONGLY suspect it is indeed true) the MSM’s NOT gonna do any journalism whatsoever on ANY Enquirer-scooped aspect of the story without a fight.

    That’s why I’ve been helpfully mentioning the Enquirer URLs, which,

    http://www.nationalenquirer.com/sarah_palin_scandals_call_of_the_wild_/celebrity/65443

    while designed to make you want to buy the dead trees version, do outline the story.

  59. Well at least we now know that such hypocrisy is not reserved for boomers.

  60. Drug use is wrong and it needs to be illegal to prevent addiction and to send the right message to children.

    Excluding the non sequitor at the end, tell me if you’d be so kind, how has prohibition worked out for preventing addiction?

    It is a good analogy, they are both felonies. Murder harms someone, drug use harms society. Also, most murders are drug related.

    Having a baby when you can’t provide for it harms society more than drugs ever will, and yet having babies while poor isn’t illegal. (Nor, before you get started, should it be.)

    BTW, most murders aren’t *drug-related*. They are *black-market* related. Crucial difference.

    So it should be legal to rape, murder, steal?

    The primary distinction between those activities and drug use is that the former list all include force being initiated against others who did not consent to having force used on them. Drug use does not. They are not alike in kind.

    And I’d recommend you get down off your high horse on theft and murder, since consistently governments (including the US) has found that theft and murder (and to a lesser extent, rape) *are just fine*, so long as you do it to people in other countries. I do believe it is normally referred to as “warfare”.

    Sure, if her life was harmed by pot, she is in a good position to know what laws are needed to prevent others from doing what she did.

    Except that she has never claimed that her life has been harmed by pot. If it were the case that it was, given her position on the issue, you’d think she would mention such harm, as it would only bolster her case.

    But she hasn’t.

    —————-

    I’ve done my part to feed the trolls today. I feel useful.

  61. Er, drug use is not a felony, Juanita.

  62. revocation or suspension of professional licenses, barriers to employment or promotion, loss of educational aid, driver’s license suspension, and bars on adoption, voting and jury service.

    To play devil’s advocate, half these things would still be OK to do under a ‘liberal’ freedom of contract regime. And it’s hard to be against conditions, even arbitrary ones, for government money. TANSTAAFL and all that.

  63. and by ‘half’ I mean the first two, so a third.

  64. I’ve done my part to feed the trolls today. I feel useful.

    I was still holding out hope that it was an elaborate, Reinmoosian sock puppet.

    “Now I don’t believe in nothin’ no more. I’m going to law school!”

  65. Scary Karen,

    “Drug use is wrong and it needs to be illegal to prevent addiction and to send the right message to children.”

    My purpose in life is not to send the “right” message to kids. Kids are their parent’s responsibility not mine.

    “…drug use harms society.”

    I’d would argue that people like you cause the most harm to society. You appear to be: inflexible, unable to think abstractly, and unaware of your intellectual limitations. Yet you probably vote 🙁

  66. heh, heh, heh,

    There’s other things me and Sarah done together 😉

  67. Unless, of course, she partoked of the magic smoke in college at the Uof I, where it was (OMG!) illegal at the time. And very hip, I might add, especially for a performing arts major.

  68. Palin holds a lot of personal positions that she has not translated into a ‘crusade’ of government. That’s the mark of a true libertarian. She’s pro-life, but she’s never made it an issue in governing. When asked if she’d push to make abortions illegal in Alaska if Roe v. Wade were overturned, she replied that it’s not the job of the governor to tell the Alaskan people what values they must have, and that they’d have to sort it out on their own.

    She’s against pot legalization, but when asked if she was going to pursue the drug war and ‘crack down’ on pot users, she said the government has more important things to do.

    She believes in a creator, but doesn’t think creationism should be part of the curriculum.

    To me, a real libertarian is someone who is willing to let you do what you’re doing, even if they think it’s wrong. Fair-weather libertarians only support your rights to do the things they themselves would do.

    If you look at Palin’s personal beliefs, she comes across as another fundamentalist Republican. But if you look at how she’s actually governed, she’s far from being a culture warrior. She may not be perfectly libertarian, but that’s an impossible standard to set for any politician who actally has to win and keep elective office.

    Libertarians need to have a big tent to attract as many people as possible. If you start out by disqualifying anyone who happens to be a devout Christian, you’re going to leave out a huge swath of people.

    And doesn’t that pretty much describe Ron Paul? So far as I know, he’s a Christian and he’s also personally pro-life.

  69. “Drug use doesn’t harm another person. Murder definitely does. It’s not a good analogy. ”
    ———————————–

    You’re missing the point. The analogy isn’t “murder is the same as drug use”. The point is that a person’s past behavior should’t determine what they should and shouldn’t advocate legally. Teetotalers shouldn’t necessarily be in favor of alcohol prohibition and murderers shouldn’t necessarily be in favor of murder legalization.

    I think you’re confused because you’re looking at the conclusion of the argument rather than at the logic of the argument. It’s like you’d be OK with ~any~ argument if the conclusion was “drugs should be legalized”; logical fallacies are irrelevant to you.

    There are lots of good arguments in favor of drug legalization. But pointing to someone’s past drug use and claiming that they should therefore be in favor of legalization is not reasonable. Further questioning of that person ~might~ show that the person is a hypocrite or a jackass… but it might not… heck you can use it as a wedge to convince someone who hasn’t thought about it much that drug legalization isn’t so crazy after all.

  70. “But pointing to someone’s past drug use and claiming that they should therefore be in favor of legalization is not reasonable”

    I’m not saying they should feel one way or the other. I’m saying they’ve lost the moral authority to participate in any argument for illegal drugs. I say “If you’ve done drugs you should sit this one out”. If you don’t then I think you’re(royal you) a jackass.

  71. “I’m not saying they should feel one way or the other. I’m saying they’ve lost the moral authority to participate in any argument for illegal drugs. I say “If you’ve done drugs you should sit this one out”. If you don’t then I think you’re(royal you) a jackass.”

    I’m fully in favor of drug legalization, but your argument makes no sense.

    Why can’t someone do drugs, find out that it screwed them up royally, and as a consequence advocate for its banning? That doesn’t make them a hypocrite.

    Now, if you could show that a person was continuing to use drugs while advocating for a ban, you’d be on much firmer ground. But your position that past use disqualifies someone from adopting the position that drugs are illegal pretty much means that you’re ceding the debate to those who have no actual experience with drugs.

    Let’s take a similar subject: Tobacco banning. Is there any doubt that a lot of people who advocate the banning of smoking are ex-smokers who discovered how hard it was to quit and therefore want to prevent others from starting?

    Often, the most vociferous people in the culture war are those who were on the other side and are now ‘clean’ and crusading. There’s no one quite so strident as the born-again moralist.

    In Palin’s case, I don’t see any stridency, and I’m guessing that she doesn’t really give a rat’s ass who smokes pot, but she has to take the anti-legalization side to set an example for her kids and to placate the right wing of her party. But she’s certainly made no attempt to become a drug warrior.

  72. “Why can’t someone do drugs, find out that it screwed them up royally, and as a consequence advocate for its banning? That doesn’t make them a hypocrite.”

    I didn’t call them hypocrites, I called them jackasses.

    It’s pretty simple- mind your own business. Especially if you’ve engaged in activities you now don’t support. They get to have fun then decide others shouldn’t without risking jail time?

  73. Motives for murder in the United States

    How do people breathe after a rectal insertion of the cranium?

  74. “Why can’t someone do drugs, find out that it screwed them up royally, and as a consequence advocate for its banning? That doesn’t make them a hypocrite.”

    “I didn’t call them hypocrites, I called them jackasses.

    It’s pretty simple- mind your own business. Especially if you’ve engaged in activities you now don’t support. They get to have fun then decide others shouldn’t without risking jail time?”

    Hey, I said I agree that drugs should be legalized. All I’m saying is that the legitimacy of someone’s argument has nothing to do with whether or not they engaged in the behaviour in the past. People can change their mind, or their experience using the stuff can convince them that it should be illegal. If anything, past use would give someone more credibility in arguing against it, because they have actual experience to fall back on. I’d rather have an ex-heroin addict tell me that heroin is evil and shouldn’t be tolerated than a moral majority type who has no clue what heroin is or does.

    In either case, I wouldn’t support banning drugs. People’s bodies are their own business, and we have no right to tell them what to eat, drink, snort, or inject into it.

  75. “All I’m saying is that the legitimacy of someone’s argument has nothing to do with whether or not they engaged in the behaviour in the past”

    I agree in part. I think the logic of their argument should be considered irrespective of their past.
    Their participation in the argument against a behavior they once enjoyed is what grinds my gears.

  76. Palin holds a lot of personal positions that she has not translated into a ‘crusade’ of government.

    She’s against pot legalization, but when asked if she was going to pursue the drug war and ‘crack down’ on pot users, she said the government has more important things to do.

    Um, one’s position on “pot legalization” is hardly a “personal position,” it’s a position on public policy, and the con position is hardly consistent with being a “real libertarian.”

    Nevertheless, if she’s actually come out against enforcement of drug laws, that would be a quite nice consolation prize. Got link?

    (p.s., abstinence-only sex education is thinly disguised religious curriculum)

  77. “All I’m saying is that the legitimacy of someone’s argument has nothing to do with whether or not they engaged in the behaviour in the past”

    When a drug user whose life is gone down the toilet tells you drugs are to blame and that they should be banned, they might be wrong on the big picture (ie, they could be part of a very small minority that abuses freedom to their personal detriment) but you can at least see where they’re coming from.

    When a drug user who got away with it and suffered no ill effects, eventually rising to or in the running for one of the most prestigious (in some circles) and powerful positions on earth tells you that drugs will ruin your life, you have to wonder whether they’re just trying to gauge how gullible you are. The past two presidents, and either the next president or vice president, were all drug users. It’s farcical.

  78. perilisk | September 17, 2008, 5:31pm | #

    The past two presidents, and either the next president or vice president, were all drug users. It’s farcical.

    You’re forgettin’ McLovin’. When the NVA offered to cut him loose early, why do you think he refused? “Just one more bong hit for this chronic pain” ;-}

  79. You’re forgettin’ McLovin’. When the NVA offered to cut him loose early, why do you think he refused? “Just one more bong hit for this chronic pain” ;-}”

    McCain also pulled strings so his wife would not go to the slammer for her drug fiend pill hoovering “indiscretion” with prescription pills. Wouldn’t she have learned her lesson if he hadn’t interfered with the almighty war on some drugs?

  80. Legalization will have to be championed by a politician who has earned high regard from the public. I suspect there are a lot of people who would come on board if someone with credibility would take the lead. Most people can see the war of drugs creates bigger problems that the drugs. Education turned drunk driving from a joke to a shameful act. Honest education would be welcomed by the young.

  81. Yes, Karen….
    most murders are drug-related. That drug being alcohol.

  82. Why can’t someone do drugs, find out that it screwed them up royally…

    And then become a VP nominee?

    Check your premises.

    and as a consequence advocate for its banning? That doesn’t make them a hypocrite.

    Good point, it’s best to keep kids from someday becoming the nominee for VP.

  83. But your position that past use disqualifies someone from adopting the position that drugs are illegal pretty much means that you’re ceding the debate to those who have no actual experience with drugs.

    Bullshit, and false dichotomy. There are far more possible positions than “drugs should be illegal” and “everyone should do drugs”. If someone (Palin) didn’t want to be an enormous hypocrite, then they (she) could advocate that others not do drugs, while still saying that it should not be against the law to do drugs.

    And, quite frankly, if they truly believed that drugs had intrinsic negative consequences they wouldn’t have to add any additional negative legal consequences (especially of the type that they personally never had to suffer in order to quit).

  84. “If anything, past use would give someone more credibility in arguing against it, because they have actual experience to fall back on. I’d rather have an ex-heroin addict tell me that heroin is evil and shouldn’t be tolerated than a moral majority type who has no clue what heroin is or does.”

    The ex-addict crusaders are for drug criminalization out personal weakness. They know if their addictive drug of choice were legal they wouldn’t be able to control their pathetic urges. They require the government to protect them from themselves.

  85. Can you say ex post facto, Jacob?

  86. “The state law granted her impunity from the federal one”

    Agreed.

    Amendment X:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

  87. I’m a bit confused by this article. If any of us have ever driven home after a party with an illegal blood alcohol level and not been caught, and then later were honest enough to admit it, we would be in exactly the same boat.

    We did something wrong, that would have had pretty much the same consequences as the pot bust in most states if we had been caught. the fact that we made the mistake does not mean it is OK ofr others.

  88. Palin is as crazy as this woman:

    filthyrichmond.blogspot.com

  89. more bizarre logic from the left

  90. didn’t I hear somewhere that Palins 17 year old unmarried daughter is pregnent. Okay okay in todays times thats (unfortunately) not such a big deal. But obviously Palin is not so good at sending ANY positive messages to her kids anyway. The only thing to do with pot is open smoke shops like in Amsterdam and parts of Canada. The reason it leads to harder drugs is because people have to buy it where harder drugs are most likely sold. “hey kid try this it’s much better than pot” If we had smoke shops where people could go and have a puff, it would eventually put the dealers out of the pot biz. The money that would be saved by this (freeing up prisons, taking it out of the court rooms, etc.) could be used to put a stop to the hard drugs. It’s a win win as far as I’m concerned. But what do I know I’m just aguy.

  91. lets see pot smokers are non violent easy to catch and are probably working tax paying productive members of society,so they keep all the judges ,lawyers,prosecuters,probation,cops k9 units, drug testing compaines all a float.without the pot users they would actually have to bust real criminals!

  92. Who questions Sarah Palin’s ability to cope with all the challenges of motherhood and career? She uses her time constructively and effectively, like, she does not sit around with gossip-mongers. You should listen to yourselves. Smoking pot is not hereditary. My husband comes from a family of non-smokers. He does not smoke. I come from a family of non-smokers, I don’t smoke. So, why does our son smoke? People make choices, not necessarily based on their parents’ behaviour.

  93. RE: Libertarians need to have a big tent to attract as many people as possible. If you start out by disqualifying anyone who happens to be a devout Christian, you’re going to leave out a huge swath of people.

    I don’t think you should conflate right-wing religious fundimentalists with “devote Christians.” There are plenty of devote Christians who do not fall into that catagory.

    I think it is obvious that the “big tent” of Libertarianism (LOL!) should exclude right-wing authoritarian theocrats, whether they are against raising taxes or not. Taxes are not all that important.

  94. RE: p.s., abstinence-only sex education is thinly disguised religious curriculum

    As is “teach the controversy” creationism.

  95. “A “real” campaign? What is that?”

    Legalization will have to be championed by a politician who has earned high regard from the public.
    This whole issue is a smoke screen to keep the 60% of americans from agreeing on a better way. This country is run by the 5% that have 60% of the wealth, compared to the 5% of wealth held by the 60%. Just one of many smoke screens put up by the 5%.
    We can not count on any politician to fix anything, unless we,of the 60% stand up, and together for change.
    There is a better way for all of us who are part of the 60%, when will we all agree?

  96. I don’t see that Sarah Palin has a pot problem. She did something when she was younger that she disagrees with now. Your assertion was that because she got to legally partake at one point in her life then everyone should be able to legally partake.

    That’s a fallacious argument. It’s like saying that everyone should be able to steal today without prosecution because someone else shoplifted when younger and wasn’t prosecuted. It doesn’t matter why that person wasn’t prosecuted (didn’t get caught, was underage, not enough evidence, corrupt judge, etc). If stealing is immoral, then it is immoral. It doesn’t matter what others do, or what others get away with.

    I agree with her. We already have a schizophrenic society. And a polluted atmosphere. Why subject the brain or lungs to more haze?

  97. How many of you have driven home after a drink or two with dinner? You broke the law, like it or not. I have an old friend that got killed in a car wreck because he was smokin’ a blunt. I would be happier if he had gotten arrested. I myself got busted for DUI. Should I condone drinking and driving for everyone now? I DON”T! If Palin toked in college and now is against it, I understand. Young people do lots of stupid things and then regret them. Except Democrats. They are ALWAYS right — er, left, or whatever. If Sara Palin farts, it makes the front page.

  98. The upshot is that smoking marijuana in the privacy of one’s home is just as legal in Alaska today as it was when Palin did it. Evidently she regrets this situation.

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