"Without endorsing what they [Colorado and Washington] did, I think they had, under our system, a right to do it," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a "serious" conservative whom many Republicans in Washington urged to run for president in 2012, told National Review's Betsy Woodruff:
I talked to Governor Mitch Daniels about this issue about a week ago at a Buckley event at Yale, and he had some interesting thoughts. "I hope that people will be consistent," he told me, referring to conservatives who support states' rights. "I believe that federalism is, first and foremost, a protection of liberty. And I would just hope that people who say they believe that would be consistent."
He continued to say that regardless of his personal opinion on decriminalization, states should be able to make their own choices on the issue.
"Without endorsing what they [Colorado and Washington] did, I think they had, under our system, a right to do it," he said. "A lot of the worst problems we've got in this country, and some of the worst divisions we have, came when the right of citizens in community and in polities, like their state, had those rights usurped by the federal government. And having disagreed with it when it happened on other occasions, I sure wouldn't call for it here."
Daniels appears to be coming full circle on this issue. As Jacob Sullum wrote last year, Daniels was caught in 1970 with enough marijuana and LSD to be put away for at least a few years under today's mandatory minimum laws. Then in 1989, he came out in favor of ruinous penalties for minor possession.