California

Reason Writers Around Town: Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch in The Huffington Post on Why Prop. 19 "Is the Most Important Issue" on Election Day

|

Writing in The Huffington Post, Reason.tv Editor Nick Gillespie and Reason Editor Matt Welch make the case that Prop. 19 is "the single-most important issue that will be decided on November 2." Excerpt:

If Prop. 19 passes, it will force, at long bloody last, an honest reconsideration of failed prohibitionist policies throughout the United States. In fact, given the drug war's influence on our foreign policy in Latin America and central Asia, Prop. 19's reverberations would even be felt far outside our borders. […]

The $50 billion in direct costs of drug prohibition at all levels of government doesn't begin to capture the costs in social disruption, crime from black markets, foregone tax revenue, and more. The 858,000 marijuana-related arrests made each year—many involving minors, non-violent offenders, and those possessing insignificant amounts—accounts for more than half of all drug-related arrests and takes a huge toll on the criminal justice system and lower-income communities at every level. No one seriously questions that the drug war disproportionately impacts minorities and that most "drug-related" crime is in fact a result of the black market status of drugs. Mexican drug gangs may be violent but there is no reason to believe that Mexican marijuana merchants would be any more violent than Mexican mango merchants. […]

And because the young voters most passionate about legalization skew heavily Democratic (despite professional Democrats being reliably awful on the issue—Sen. Dianne Feinstein leads the No-on-19 campaign), it is conceivable that Jerry Brown will be re-elected California governor because of the turnout Prop. 19 generates. That lesson will be on the minds not only of Democrats desperate to gin up any enthusiasm, but also pro-legalization Republicans eyeing the 2012 nomination, including Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. […]

It may start in California, but the legalization of marijuana will also mean that schoolkids in Oklahoma won't have to pee in a bottle in order to be on quiz bowl teams and online vendors of bongs won't be prosecuted in Western Pennsylvania and medical marijuana patients in Florida will be able to concentrate on their cancer rather than their legal defense. It means covert farmers in Kentucky and Texas and Washington who generate billions of dollars worth of crops will fully enter the economy. It means that federal and state prisons all over the country will have room for violent prisoners. It means that cops will be deprived of their favorite means for shaking down "suspicious" low-income minorities, and it means that all Americans, even those who never use marijuana, will be more free.

Read the whole thing–and leave comments!–here.

Advertisement

NEXT: Will a Republican Congress Knock Science Back Into the Stone Age?

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 Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Dude it’s over.

  2. First MSNBC, now HuffPo. Whatever it takes.

    I will say it’s the first time I’ve recommended reading something over at Arianna’s place with approval.

    1. And yet if there weren’t the promise of massive taxes to be had, not a single liberal pundit would be for it.

      1. How many have come out for it in any case? I only see Nick and Matt writing here.

        1. No kidding; I’ve only seen Reason and CATO doing the heavy lifting on this issue. Where are all the libs?

          1. You don’t think that liberals who want the government to control health care think that the government having the power to prohibit marijuana is a bad thing, do you?

          2. Where are all the libs?

            What? Oh, we’re busy investigating the Facebook privacy. What are we talking about?

          3. It seems that some “lib” commentators at HuffPo are against this because “Big Biz” will come in and make a profit…

            …which I guess is consistent if you are against markets.

  3. the legalization of marijuana will also mean that schoolkids in Oklahoma won’t have to pee in a bottle in order to be on quiz bowl teams ….

    Says you.

    1. I would recommend the 2006 8th Grader. It’s a dry vintage with a subtly complex taste profile and a mellow nose with just a hint of asparagus. Gym class was especially strenuous that year, and the golden yellow ochre is like nothing that has hit your lips before.

  4. Reason Writers Around Town: Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch in The Huffington Post[…]

    Are you now on Soros’ payroll??

      1. At the same time.

  5. Why don’t you just say it is “the most important election since the Civil War”?

    1. It is. We’ve had a civil war running for 70 years and it is time to end it.

  6. schoolkids in Oklahoma won’t have to pee in a bottle in order to be on quiz bowl teams

    My college bowl team was always stoned. In our best performance I was dosing. We never made it to #1 only because of an extreme weakness on Broadway play trivia(no homos).

    1. Similar story.

      In the halcyon high-school days of my youth I participated in the Academic Decathlon team. Four of our nine starters were stoners. Only the “B” student contingent was without one, and they were our weak arm. We came so close to winning at City. Alas.

      ::blinks as the memories come poring back::

      Damn, but I sucked at the speaking events. I cringe to think of it. And my study habits and self discipline were deplorable.

      NB: an Academic Decathlon letter jacket is a sure invitation to hazing.

      But it kept the wind off.

  7. Write an article one the second and post it to huffpo. Then I’ll be impressed.

    It took less than two pages to go from pot to class warfare and the evil rich.
    I love Huffpo.

    1. (citation needed)

  8. Read the whole thing?and leave comments!

    Say, their commentators have “fans” and are called “Pundits” and “Super Users.” Why can’t we have fun social-site gimmicks?

    1. Because the social gimmicks here are all user generated.

      1. As a karate expert I concur.

        1. As a karate expert I concur.

          Karate is the Dane Cook of martial arts.

      2. Well, they were till they limited the use of html tags. . .

        1. We had that one afternoon where we could do anything, but the authoritarians who run this website shut down our anarchistic amusement right quick.

          1. That seems quite unreasonable.

          2. We had that one afternoon where we could do anything

            Ah, that’s why we can’t have nice things.

    2. Badges?? We don’t need no stinkin badges!!!

    3. Haiku, world-class snark, and obscure rock music references aren’t good enough for you?

      1. Short snarky poems,
        Are missing from Hit and Run –
        eaten by the trolls.

  9. I hope you guys contribute a lot more to HuffPo — especially about economics, health care and government regulations. Don’t just post stuff they already agree with. They really need some exposure to articulate arguments in favor of free market solutions. The ignorance over there is astonishing.

    1. I was struck by the similarity to the average pot thread that Ed or Allahpundit occasionally post over at HotAir.com. Little less reliance on the tried and true “stoners are stupid” talking point repeated ad nauseum, but a lot of the same hyper-partisan obtuse ignorance. If those groups ever got stuck in an elevator together, they’d be statist best buds for life. I have to admit to getting too much amusment trolling the HA crowd by pointing out that their concept of a “stoner” is fully informed by one of their favorite people, Mr. Sean Penn, with his artistic rendering of Spicoli. . .

      1. Little less reliance on the tried and true “stoners are stupid” talking point repeated ad nauseum

        What’s amazing is how this gets pulled out as KULTUR WAR bullshit, even from TEAM RED types…who themselves currently or have in the past smoked plenty of weed.

      2. Well, stoners (and drunks) certainly can be stupid, but if we outlaw stupidity, we make a lot of stupid people dependent on the taxpayers.

        -jcr

    2. Agreed. But one has to get the foot in the proverbial door somehow, and talking about economic freedom ain’t it.

  10. the passage of Prop. 19 will set in motion the end of the larger drug war

    I don’t know whether to “YOU LIE” or “derp.”

    Are you now on Soros’ payroll??

    The Jacket is Stasi, not Nazi.

    1. I like “Stasi” as shorthand for him. Easier to type than “The Jacket”. Damn I am one lazy fucker.

  11. I forgot to note that it was a rather good article. It’s nice to see Reason getting out and about a little more on both sides of the media aisle.

    Seems like Reason has had some exposure on Fox for a while, and less so on other media. Nice to see ya’ guys spread out. Even if I have to watch MSNBC and visit Huffpo for reasons other than trolling. (which I now kind of hate you all for)

    1. I first learned about Reason by watching CSPAN. Nick and Brian were on talkin about all sorts of stuff.

      I was very impressed.

  12. Is it just me, or does a TV show based on the former Communist state (Russia Today) feature Libertarian thought more often than any of the US media?

    1. That’s because they are here to undermine the American government in any way they can.

      1. Well in that case someone send them a thank you note.

      2. Well in that case someone send them a thank you note.

    2. Is it just me, or does a TV show based on the former Communist state (Russia Today) feature Libertarian thought more often than any of the US media?

      Having tried communism, they understand the effects. Democrats on the other hand…

  13. ?and leave comments!?

    I don’t think you can comment unless your post includes some appeal to putting away “Wall Street criminals”

    1. Or a bash of the previous tenant at 1600.

      1. Why not both!

  14. Matt Welch in the Huffington Post?!

    I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself.

    I don’t want to go back into the archives to dig it up–but how ironic is it to see Matt Welch in The Huffington Post?

    Holy Moly. Let me look out my window–there’s gotta be some pigs flying around out there somewhere!

    That’s friggin’ hilarious.

    1. It’s a sign of the Apocalypse.

  15. This is the race I’ve been paying the most attention. I know 100% of the people I vote for here in Texas will lose. But seeing how 19 has at least a decent chance of slapping the federal government in the face and stirring up the debate all over the country is fucking exciting.

  16. The $50 billion in direct costs of drug prohibition at all levels of government doesn’t begin to capture the costs in social disruption, crime from black markets, foregone tax revenue, and more.

    I seem to remember Reason arguing that it’s statist to consider foregone tax revenue as a cost, because that would imply our money belongs to the government.

    But when it becomes convenient to do so, they flip flop and join the statists.

    1. They were obviously referring to foregon tax revenues from productive members of society who are now sitting behind bars in a jail.

    2. To get Prop 19 passed it IS worth it.

      1. If the cost is one’s soul, it is not advantageous to gain the whole world. But Wales?

        1. Since most libertarians don’t seem to be complete anarchists, I’d assume we don’t mind some taxation. Here, it seems they were directly referring to missed sales tax revenue, which, as a consumption tax, doesn’t feel nearly as pernicious as the income or property taxes we face. My $.02.

    3. At least it’s a voluntary tax. Don’t want to pay it? Don’t buy pot, then.

    4. You are the expert on joining the statists, Tulpa.

      1. And you’re the expert at responding to ideological heresy with ad hominem attacks. Combining our expertise, we could rule the world.

        1. Combining our expertise, we could rule the world.

          So which one of you has the great rack?

        2. Ad homs? Hold on LoneWacko, can you give me some examples?

        3. I, for one, welcome our new. . .

          Aw, FUCK that shit. It’s ON.

    5. I seem to remember Reason arguing that it’s statist to consider foregone tax revenue as a cost, because that would imply our money belongs to the government.

      Their audience is huffington post readers…they are telling them the advantages to them.

      “hey look lefty scum bags if you legalize pot you will get more tax money to spend on digging holes and filling them back up again.”

      Just because Nick and Matt are libertarians does not mean they should give up salesmanship and politicking.

      1. Just because Nick and Matt are libertarians does not mean they should give up salesmanship and politicking.

        Could this be the reason why libertarian candidates fare so poorly? Obama has made it pretty clear that you don’t campaign on your actual platform if you want to win.

  17. Great points all, that will fly over everyone’s heads at Huffpo. Now O’Reilly is laying his bullshit down to Stossel. Please John, set the lying mother fucker straight.

  18. HuffPost commenters sure are a bunch of douche bags. Even more than you guys are.

    1. I resemble that remark.

  19. God motherfucking damnit, Stossel, have some statistics to shove O’Reilly’s bullshit right back up his ass!

  20. Why can’t we have really important issues like this decided in Mississippi where they wouldn’t be such nail-biters?

  21. “It may start in California, but the legalization of marijuana will also mean that schoolkids in Oklahoma won’t have to pee in a bottle in order to be on quiz bowl teams…”

    What dreamworld are Welch and Gillespie living in if they don’t think that legalized marijuana won’t have age restrictions on it similar to alcohol?

    1. Alcohol has age restrictions too but we don’t test chess teams for traces.

      1. They would do this if it was possible, but, according to my amateur research a few years ago, the body metabolizes alcohol completely (which also explains why vodka is so high in calories despite having no fats or sugars). Since there’s no traces or reactionary byproducts leftover, it’s really only possible to test for alcohol before it’s been fully metabolized by your system (ie: while you are still drunk).

        1. No. Test for liver enzyme. Of course there will be false positives. But there always are. This is a small price to pay to keep chess players sober.

  22. Has anyone else been getting a lot of drug and alcohol rehab ads on reason? I can’t tell if Google or is picking up on the Prop 19 keywords, my own personal habits, or they are just well-targeted advertisements based on this being a libertarian site and the election 2 weeks away.

    1. ONE week away. Don’t space on the date!

    2. Now you have me paranoid, as I never see ads on the internet, I’m missing the cues that I’m being “targeted” by sophisticated marketers with full access to a simulacrum of my online personality.

    3. No, most of the ads I get are about getting rid of your manboobs (chest-handles to us in the industry).

    4. I miss the one where Benico Del Toro was holding the bong.

      1. Benicio… Reason needs a preview button.

        1. The Carpet Humper was my favorite.

          Now I get lots of job and job training types.
          So they are tracking me.

  23. I think this article overreaches a little. We can only hope the dominoes will fall but there’s no guarantee. Many of the benefits stated would require the full legalization of domestic pot farming, not just sales and use. Will the feds stand buy and let that happen? I’m not confident that they will, at least yet. I think eventually we will see national acceptance, not because of rational minds in Washington, but because our governments are addicted to mo money, mo money, mo money. I’m not sure it’s going to happen all that quickly though. As they say, it’s a start.

  24. Maybe Gillespie and Welch will write something in the Huffington Post about Rand Paul’s fascist thugs stomping on a woman at a rally. Don’t hold your breath. Oh, I forgot, you all have your heads up your fat right-wing asses and can barely breathe anyway.

    1. Arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf arf!!!

    2. Maybe Gillespie and Welch will write something in the Huffington Post about the SEIU’s fascist thugs stomping on Kenneth Gladney at a rally. Don’t hold your breath. Oh, I forgot, you all have your heads up your fat left-wing keisters and can barely breathe anyway.

      1. I’m insane!

        1. I don’t know why, but this really got my funny bone big time.

    3. Oh, Max, it’s time for our bath!

      1. No, Mom, I’m sleeping with my sister tonight. It’s Dad’s turn with you.

        1. The family that lays together stays together.

    4. Maybe Gillespie and Welch will write something in the Huffington Post about the SEIU’s fascist thugs rigging the voting machines in Nevada in Reid’s favor. Don’t hold your breath. Oh, I forgot, I have my head up between Barney Frank’s fat cheeks and can barely breathe anyway.

      1. Did I mention these ‘shrooms are awesome?

    5. Max: H&R’s pet yorkie.

  25. I am very afraid of reading the comments.

    1. Once you’ve read one, you’ve read them all!

  26. Hope the citizens of California pass it, as there may be actual green jobs created out of it (ya know cause pot is green, har har).

    I will be very interested to see how the feds react to this if it passes. If they crack down, it’ll be an interesting states rights issue (see it isn’t just for slavery) as I’d imagine the law enforcement in California wouldn’t be assisting in the arrests or trials.

  27. Jesus Christ am I sick of reading about Prop 19. There are SO many more important issues on the table. Yes, the drug ware is silly. Yes, it puts people behind bars and we pay for them to be there. Is it THE most important issue? Uh, no. The referendum on crazy tax and spend policy is. Every single effing poll shows it as well. The fact Rand Paul exists is fairly amazing.

    I don’t give a shit if you smoke pot. But if it’s just another thing to tax to death, well, then it’s not really about expanding freedom, is it?

    1. Yeah, true, taxing consumption is exactly the same sort of restriction on freedom as throwing people in jail. Good call.

  28. And for God’s sake, really? The Huff Post? Why not just slit your throats and writhe about on MSNBC while you’re at it?

    1. OK, I was gonna chastise your previous post and say, “yes the war on drugs IS the most important thing”, but then you redeemed yourself with this that made me laugh.

  29. because the young voters most passionate about legalization skew heavily Democratic (despite professional Democrats being reliably awful on the issue…, it is conceivable that Jerry Brown will be re-elected California governor because of the turnout Prop. 19 generates. That lesson will be on the minds not only of Democrats desperate to gin up any enthusiasm, but also pro-legalization Republicans eyeing the 2012 nomination,

    And what lesson is that? I don’t see any lesson there for people seeking the GOP presidential nomination, because there’s nothing I can see that they can do about circumstances like the above. If there’s a pot legalization question on the ballot along with the Republican primary, it doesn’t seem it would affect their voters — except in an open-primary state, in which case you might get a bunch of young, normally Democratic voters crossing over. If that’s the case it would favor left-leaning Republicans. So if you want to get support for limited-gov’t candidates in the Republican primaries, you’d better not try to put such a question on the same ballot, and if someone else does, you’d be well advised to try to knock it off.

    Any other lesson to be gleaned here?

  30. Was this cleared with the Kochtopus? If you’re not careful, they’re going to withdraw their secret funding of Reason.

    1. Does the Kochtopus oppose drug use? I figured they’d be all for it.

      Remember – Idiocracy isn’t a warning, it’s an instruction manual.

  31. You “libertarians” sure do care about “personal freedom,” except when Rand Paul wants to tell women what to do with their uteruses.

    1. Unless he’s telling them to give them to you. In a plain brown envelope.

    2. Socons have no actual power to enforce socially conservative rules, because of the supreme court. This means that electing a socially and fiscally conservative personal is the same as electing a fiscally conservative person.

    3. Re: Max,

      You “libertarians” sure do care about “personal freedom,” except when Rand Paul wants to tell women what to do with their uteruses.

      I wouldn’t tell a woman what to do with her uterus. I would just throw her ass in jail if she kills her child, that’s all.

      1. I agree OM. It’s a good thing abortion isn’t the same as killing your child.

  32. Gillespie/Welch mentioned North Carolina as a decriminalized state. Just stopping by to point out that, from everything I’ve heard down here, our “decriminalization” is as bullshitty as New York’s. People are regularly arrested for possession of small amounts of weed.

    1. Police have the option of just writing you a ticket. I’m sure a lot of the old school ones still go for arrests though…

      1. Yeah, I don’t think there are many patrol cops who are very eager to choose the “option” that results in a smaller intervention into the life and livelihood of whatever poor sap they’ve pulled over. Police have the option to not do a whole ton of things that they nevertheless do with zeal.

  33. I continue to be baffled that there is libertarian opposition to treating pot like alcohol.

    If you think repealing alcohol prohibition was libertarian, why wouldn’t repealing pot prohibition on exactly the same terms be libertarian?

    If you don’t think repealing alcohol prohibition was libertarian, please share your definition of “libertarian.”

    1. Government subsidized alcohol and marijuana.

  34. I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.