John Kasich Says We Can't Legalize Pot Because 'Drugs Is One of the Greatest Scourge'

Ohio's governor is also worried about "mixed signals" and "overdoses." Huh?


CBS News

Next Tuesday voters in Ohio will decide whether to legalize marijuana. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, is a vocal opponent of the idea, so his reaction when the subject was broached at last night's debate was hardly surprising. But his ungrammatical, barely coherent statement nicely illustrated the brain-dead dogmatism of pot prohibitionists:

Sending mixed signals to kids about drugs is a disaster. Drugs is one of the greatest scourge in this country, and I spent five years of my administration working with my team to do a whole sort of things to try to rein in the problem of overdoses, and it goes on and on. We could do a whole show on that.

Please don't. Three sentences about drug policy from John Kasich are more than enough. Unpacking his meaning is a bit challenging, but let's give it a try.

Kasich says legalizing marijuana would send "mixed signals to kids," which would be a "disaster." Or as he put it on Tuesday, "When you run around telling kids not to do drugs, young kids, and then they read that we might legalize marijuana, I just think it's a mixed message. It's not good." The unspoken premise of that argument is that it's dangerous to let adults do things children should not do. I'm not sure Kasich has thought through the implications of that position.

Kasich also says legalizing marijuana would be reckless because "drugs is [sic] one of the greatest scourge [sic] in this country." Drugs (including the legal ones) are also an important source of pleasure, as demonstrated by the fact that people like them so much. Contrary to Kasich's implication, this pleasure is mostly harmless. But I gather he thinks it's dangerous to let people do things that can cause harm when done to excess. Again, I suspect that covers a lot more ground than even Kasich would be comfortable with.

Kasich's inconsistency is also apparent in his reference to overdose deaths, which is not a problem with marijuana (the subject of the question) but is a problem with alcohol, a drug he presumably does not want to ban. If he gave any thought to the relative hazards of marijuana and alcohol, he might realize how arbitrary the distinctions drawn by our drug laws are. 

Then again, he might not. Like Ben Carson, Kasich thinks the main problem with the war on drugs is that it has not been waged enthusiastically enough. "If I happened to be president," he told Hugh Hewitt last April, "I would lead a significant campaign down at the grassroots level to stomp these drugs out of our country." Kasich good. Drugs bad. Kasich stomp. Drugs flee.

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  1. Kasich himself is a greater scourge than teh devil weed.

    1. To show you what an idiot Kasich is, he said he “liked” the job the moderators did in the debate last night!

      The Titanic has a better chance of raising itself than Kasich has of EVER being elected president as a republican nominee.

      Now if he ran as a democrat, that’s a completely different story. He definitely could win under those circumstances.

      1. Kay-sick couldn’t win a stuffed rat at a shady carnival game. he’s just piss*ed on his lack of support due to negative charisma and shady “accomplishments”…We in Ohio want him GONE!

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  2. I agree with Kasich’s priorities. We should go Singapore on drug users.

    1. Then the users could truly be scourged!

      1. That would be The Greatest!

      2. Don’t be a jerk, Jerk.

        1. No, *I* am Spartacus!

    2. Do you honestly believe that wasting $20 Billion and arresting 3/4 Million Americans annually for choosing a substance scientifically proven to be safer than what the govt allows, is a sound policy?

      1. While I can’t speak for Fist it’s reasonable to assume based on his posting history that he’s kidding about that.

      2. No, make it a misdemeanor. Just don’t encourage it’s use.
        If someone does something stupid as a result of being under the influence, then prosecute.
        I don’t recommend actively chasing and prosecuting dope smokers just for the simple act of smoking.
        But if you cause problems as a result of getting high there should be some teeth in the law.
        It’s not just about you.

        1. Teeth in the law?

          Death for a first offense.

          We already have laws for causing problems. How about we end Prohibition?

    3. The same Singapore where you get in a taxi and the driver says, “You want some Thai sticks or opium?” It must have changed in the last couple of decades.

  3. Not interested in getting drug policy recommendations from Mushmouth.

  4. Drugs like coffee, and I’m talking about the real shit. People buy the whole beans from stores frequented by people with tattoos and then they get home all in a panic, grind them up and put it into a pot where they pour hot water over it. They anxiously wait for the brew. Sweat pours down their face as they count down the time. Their desire for the caffeine is overwhelming, absolute, and they will do anything, anything for the caffeine rush.

    These drugs are the scourge of America and if I’m elected I will be sure that the war on all drugs will continue.

    1. Get your grammar right. You mean “These drugs IS the scourge”.

      How are you going to run for president if you can’t even talk goodly?

      1. “Young man, where’s your grammar?”

        “Oh, she’s out back, overdosed on marijuana.”

        1. Awesome!

        2. I aten’t dead.

        3. I overdosed on marijuana once, it was awesome!!!!!!

  5. Sending mixed signals to kids about drugs is a disaster.

    Sheesh, John — what signals sent to kids are *not* “mixed”?

    Also, when will you be suspending your campaign?

    1. No law must ever be changed, apparently.

      1. Indeed. Sending mixed signals to kids about the law is a disaster.

      2. Pretty much. It takes a lot of hard work and good intentions to write legislation. Changing the law, or worse repealing it, is an insult to all that hard work and all those good intentions. If you start doing that, then law that you put hard work and good intentions into writing could be changed or repealed down the road. So in the name of professional courtesy, there shall be no big changes or repeal of existing law.

  6. Kasich vows to round up and deport 11 million illegal drugs.

  7. “When you run around telling kids not to do drugs, young kids, and then they read we might legalize marijuana, I just think it’s a mixed message. It’s not good.”

    Let’s take that line of thought to it’s logical conclusion, Mr. Kasich.

    Alcohol is detrimental to the development of a child’s mind, reinstate prohibition. Cigarettes are very unhealthy for a child’s lungs and circulatory system, ban them outright. Abstinence is the most effective means to avoid STD’s and unplanned pregnancy, sorry adults, no screw for you. Junk food is a major cause of obesity in children, fuck you McDonald’s, we’re shutting you down. Automobiles are fast, heavy and very dangerous if not operated correctly, get on the bus, chumps. Fargo is a extremely dark and often violent movie, away with you, Blockbuster!(Shit, he may have secretly pulled that one off.)

    In fact, let’s do away with any and all choices in life for an adult that might be detrimental to youths. Enjoy your new existence in a hermetically sealed plastic bubble, for the childrunz.

    1. If it’s fun, it’s probably too dangerous.

    2. Don’t forget pools. Pools have to go. Way too dangerous for kids.

    3. More kids died playing high scool football this year than from pot. Let’s propose outlawing that in Ohio.

      1. You go first. I’m not sure I even want to watch the results of that. 😉

    4. It’s not sending a mixed message. It’s saying that you’re finally admitting that MJ does have a lot of medicinal value, and it’s safer than legal alcohol, and that it should have never been on the most restrictive schedule in the first place (no thanks to Nixon and his desire to send a big FYTW to hippies).

  8. Slavers gonna slave

  9. Why come u like drugs there bad?!

  10. If Kasich wants to make this as simple as choosing between drugs and children, I think the right path is obvious.

    1. I don’t see these as mutually exclusive.

    2. Yep. Mandatory birth control for everybody.

  11. Kasich trotted out the lame “what message are we sending to the children” propaganda.

    If they really cared for the children they’d legalize and regulate marijuana. If they really wanted to keep any substance out of the hands of “The Children” they first must take control of distribution away from black market dealers. They haven’t accomplished that in 40+ years at a taxpayers cost in the hundreds of billions. It’s time to treat marijuana as we do alcohol. My 30 year old still gets “carded ” when buying alcohol, yet your 13 year old can buy anything the black market dealer has, for a price, whether it be money or “something else”. FACT: Your kids have a better chance dying at the hands of someone enforcing marijuana laws than they do from ingesting it. (ZERO %).

    We’d all be better off if the police would focus is on crimes that have actual victims.
    Does anyone, other than those who pad their pockets from prohibition, honestly believe that wasting $20 Billion and arresting 3/4 Million Americans annually for choosing a substance scientifically proven to be safer than what the govt allows, is a sound policy?

    1. “Does anyone, other than those who pad their pockets from prohibition, honestly believe that wasting $20 Billion and arresting 3/4 Million Americans annually for choosing a substance scientifically proven to be safer than what the govt allows, is a sound policy?”

      Yes but thankfully the “greatest generation” is dying off.

      1. My grandfather was 19 when WW2 started in Europe. He fought in the Pacific. He’s still alive at 95. Bad ass dude. He blows off the idea that his was the “greatest generation”. He claims his father’s generation was greater for surviving WW1, enduring the depression and orchestrating the victory in WW2.

        1. And… he sparks up in his rocker??? Cool ztory.

          Not quite sure where you’re going with this except to say old people are Teh Awesome. Or something.

        2. We are well aligned on that point. His generation sucked.

          1. The Baby Boomers are the worst. They (we *cringe*) ramped up the suckiest ideas from the previous three generations.

    2. And there are some CHILDREN that suffer from severe epilepsy, that some low-THC strains of MJ keep them from getting life-threatening seizures. Ever think about that, Johnny?

  12. This little weasel was loved by all my conservative family members.and hated by all my liberal ones. Now all the liberal ones love him, and the conservative ones hate him. But me being a libertarian, I hated him from the beginning but I’ll admit I hate him now more than ever. “The Bible says charity is good! We cannot cut welfare because welfare is charity! People who cut welfare are going to hell!”

    1. Forcing other people to support causes you believe in is totally the same thing as personally and voluntarily contributing the good of others.

      1. As the Bible says “Render unto Ceasar, so that he may spread charity and good works.”

      2. No joke, I got into an argument a few days ago with a Sanders supporter on DerpBook who literally believed this.

        1. Entirely unsurprising. These people have dedicated a total of about 3 minutes of thought to all their beliefs about ethics and social order.

        2. I always want to encounter one of these “taxation is charity” people so that I can wrestle them to the ground, take their wallet, take a few bills, pocket some of them (for my troubles, you know) and give the rest to charity. Then I can ask them to explain what the difference is between what I did and what the government does when they take money to give to others.

  13. Reading that mess of an incoherent statement brings this to mind.

    “I personally believe that US Americans….”

    He should don a swimsuit and pledge to save the seals or some such nonsense.

  14. If he gave any thought to the relative hazards of marijuana and alcohol, he might realize how arbitrary the distinctions drawn by our drug laws are.

    You say that as if he was not aware of the inconsistency of his position regarding those substances, Jacob. Of course he’s aware. He’s nothing more than a knave and a shyster.

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  16. Just last week an estimated 473 Ohioans overdosed on the Marihuanas. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

    1. According to what model?

  17. The greatest scourge in America is a55clown politicians who preen for the media hyena’s and exaggerate a set list of crap – mostly for the financial benefit to their bundlers – and that is almost invariably bad in practice for the rest of us.

    The second greatest scourge is the media.

  18. 10% of Americans are on legal psychotropic drugs (SSRIs, painkillers, tranquilizers et.el), another 10% use illicit psychotropics (weed, speed, opiates, acid and it’s derivative club-drugs). That is 1-in-5 of your fellow citizens are under the influence. Let that sink in a moment. Do we want to go down that road where we start legalizing the illicit psychotropics? Surely you can’t believe more people won’t take up the formally illicit psychotropics once the stigma of illicitness is removed? The Last thing this country needs is another handicap. We already have a reputation around the world of being out-of-our-minds, this move would remove all doubts.

    1. I disagree. Legalize it all… Let the abusers fall by the wayI disagree. Legalize it all… Let the abusers fall by the way side and don’t bother to pick them up. Survival of fittest based on your intelligence and ability to control yourself? Also Known as freedom and personal responsibility. side and don’t bother to pick them up. Survial of

    2. The answer is simple – make ALL psychotropics illegal. Be consistent.

    3. At first I read that as sarcasm. Go back to PoliceOne.

  19. Let’s see. You can sit in your house and drink until you puke and pass out and, as long as you do not violate the rights of others or become an immediate threat to the rights of others, the police won’t kick down your door and arrest you. Yet, alcohol is a true narcotic drug, by definition. The use of alcohol causes more deaths and disease than all the illegal drugs combined. The use of alcohol, by the U.S. Government’s own statistics, causes more violent crime, including murder and rapes, than all the illegal drugs combined. Gee! Why don’t we outlaw alcohol as Public Drug Enemy Number One? If the government (and politicians elected to office) have the legitimate moral authority to dictate what otherwise honest, peaceful adults do with their bodies and minds (which they don’t), then alcohol would have to be prohibited once again. The only reason it didn’t work last time is because the government didn’t throw enough money at the problem.

  20. What has happened to Reason Readers?

    I mean all the nastiess because you disagree with someone.

    Makes one think that these posters are really Democrats

    1. I’m the resident liberal troll.

      And I would vote for John Kasich over any of the other GOP Candidates.

    2. What has happened to Reason Readers?

      You must have been away for a LONG time.

  21. Live Free[er]?

    Dear Reason reader,

    one of the most personal freedom- damaging beliefs you can have [one of many :-)] , is the belief in the necessity, and the effectiveness, of political involvement – to supposedly “improve” your own life and the lives of others via the political process.

    Fact: as an individual you will _never_ enjoy a freer life for yourself until you completely reject the “drug”, “religion” [ or whatever else you want to call it] known as “political activism” or “involvement”, in its entirety.

    It is nothing more than a trap- a dead end that dramatically _decreases_ your chances of ever achieving more personal freedom and happiness for yourself in this world.

    Regards, onebornfree.
    Personal Freedom Consulting:

    1. You should run for Congress.

  22. The sad part is that other than his drug policies, I find John Kasich to be one of the most reasonable candidates.

    And, since I’ve lived all my life with Drugs being illegal and it hasn’t stopped me, this wouldn’t stop me from voting for John Kasich.

    And, I would vote for Kasich over Clinton in a heartbeat, I just don’t want to give up the Supreme Court to the Religious and Racists assholes.

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