Can we add conservative uber-columnist George Will to the list of prominent pundits who recently have questioned marijuana prohibition? Not quite, but some of what Will had to say on the subject during the roundtable discussion on yesterday's edition of ABC's The Week was encouraging:
In California…marijuana is essentially legalized. We have legalized gambling in this country…It used to be considered a sin and a crime. With no national debate and no decision moment…we legalized prostitution, as anyone who opens a telephone book and looks under "escort" can tell you.…And we probably are in the process now of legalizing marijuana…Eighty percent of the revenue of the Mexican cartels is marijuana. If you really want to go after the Mexican cartels—and I'm not saying that's the only criterion for public policy— you'd legalize marijuana.
It's not clear that Will welcomes legal gambling, legal prostitution, and legal pot, but at least he understands how prohibition strengthens organized crime. And even if he doesn't support legalization yet, at least it's in his vocabulary.
Unfortunately, Will did not stop there. "There is one problem," he said later in the discussion, reporting that he had learned from a recent conversation with drug czar Gil Kerlikowske that "marijuana is getting much better." He did not explain why that's a problem.
The clip from The Week is here; the marijuana discussion starts about four minutes before the end.