Drug Policy

Trump, Clinton, Stein, and Johnson on Drugs

All four presidential candidates say states should be free to legalize marijuana, but they differ on whether that's a good idea.

|

The last time the Democratic Party's platform mentioned marijuana was in 1984, when it cited "25 million regular abusers of marijuana" and "15,000 tons of marijuana" entering the United States each year as "clear evidence that we are losing the effort overseas to control the production and transshipment of…dangerous drugs." The draft for this year's platform mentions marijuana half a dozen times, and the context is notably different:

We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites, despite similar usage rates.

Assuming something like that language is included in the final version of the platform, the Democrats, after three decades of silence on the subject, have gone from advocating an escalation of the war on weed to facilitating more tolerant approaches, including outright legalization. What's more, every presidential candidate you are likely to see on your ballot this November agrees that states should be free to legalize marijuana—a remarkable development attributable not only to the landmark 2012 initiatives in Colorado and Washington but to a concomitant shift in public opinion nationwide.

Once you get beyond the question of how the federal government should respond to states that legalize marijuana, there are some notable differences on drug policy among the four parties with wide ballot access. Here is a summary of where they stand, arranged from least to most tolerant.

Republican Party

Trump campaign

Unlike New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former rival for the GOP nomination who is now a supporter and potential running mate, Donald Trump has never promised to stop marijuana legalization in its tracks. To the contrary, he says "that should be a state issue," although he also says legalization is a bad idea (albeit one he used to support, not only for marijuana but for other drugs as well).

Marijuana federalism aside, Trump sounds like an unreconstructed drug warrior. "I'm going to create borders," he promises. "No drugs are coming in. We're gonna build a wall. You know what I'm talking about. You have confidence in me. Believe me, I will solve the problem."

That's how most Republicans and many Democrats have been talking about drugs for as long as I can remember: If only we put our minds to it and spend enough money, we can stop the flow of drugs that threatens to turn us into a nation of dope fiends. A century of failure with this approach should have demonstrated its folly even to those unfamiliar with the economics of black markets.

On the question of how to treat Americans who manage to obtain arbitrarily proscribed intoxicants despite the best efforts of border-blocking drug warriors, Trump sounds at least as sympathetic as Richard Nixon. "The people that are in trouble, the people that are addicted, we're going to work with them and try to make them better," he says, "and we will make them better."

Democratic Party

Columbia University

Hillary Clinton is down with "laboratories of democracy," as long as the experiments involve cannabis. "I want to wait and see what the evidence is," she says. Unlike Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who ran against her in the Democratic primaries, Clinton is not ready to repeal federal prohibition, although she thinks marijuana should be moved from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to Schedule II, which she says will facilitate medical research.

Clinton's promises regarding addiction treatment are at least as grandiose as Trump's plan to stop drugs at the border. "There are 23 million Americans suffering from addiction," she says. "But no one is untouched. We all have family and friends who are affected. We can't afford to stay on the sidelines any longer—because when families are strong, America is strong. Through improved treatment, prevention, and training, we can end this quiet epidemic once and for all."

Despite her compassionate pose and her support for sentencing reform, Clinton is not forswearing the use of force and violence to discourage drug use. When Clinton says "our state and federal prisons…are no substitute for proper treatment," when she talks about "ensur[ing] every person suffering from addiction can obtain comprehensive treatment" and "prioritiz[ing] treatment over prison for low-level and nonviolent drug offenders," what she has in mind is, at best, giving consumers of politically incorrect intoxicants a choice between a treatment slot and a jail cell.

Although Clinton's addict estimate includes alcoholics, that is not a choice even the heaviest drinker has to confront unless he commits a crime. Drinking itself, unlike the use of illegal drugs, does not qualify. A corollary is that even casual drug users with no addiction to treat may still have to choose between treatment and jail if they happen to get caught.

Clinton does not bother to defend this blatantly unequal approach, because it is indefensible. It is therefore hard to take seriously her pose as an enlightened public servant who only wants to help "sick people that deserve to get well." This medicalization of drug policy may take some of the rough edges off the war on drugs (or not), but only at the cost of denying the moral agency of drug users, which justifies the government's shabby and often brutal treatment of them.

Green Party

Green Party

Jill Stein, the Green Party's presidential nominee, thinks we should "treat substance abuse as a health problem, not a criminal offense." Yet she also says "we wouldn't remove all laws against all drug use." Still, Stein goes further than Clinton, saying we should "end the failed war on drugs," "replace drug prohibition with harm reduction," and "legalize marijuana/hemp."

The Green Party, which nominated its first presidential candidate (Ralph Nader) in 1996, has opposed criminal penalties for marijuana use since 2000. "It's time to get rid of the black market and bring marijuana sales under a legal regulatory framework," Stein said when she ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2010. "In this way, we can staunch the flow of money to illegal drug networks, generate new funds for our communities, improve public safety, and create new jobs in growing hemp for food and fiber."

Libertarian Party

Libertarian Party

The Libertarians' position on drug policy is clear: They are against it. The party's platform says, "We favor the repeal of all laws creating 'crimes' without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes." Opposing the criminalization of consensual adult activities covers a lot of ground, and as it relates to psychoactive substances the principle cannot logically be limited to marijuana. Yet Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who was the Libertarian nominee in 2012 and tops the ticket again this year, is trying to do just that.

"We are not espousing the legalization of any drugs outside of marijuana," Johnson, the former CEO of a cannabis company, said during a CNN town hall last month. Pressed about whether he and his running mate, former Massachusetts governor William Weld, want to legalize drugs such as heroin, he said they would "keep the drugs illegal" while trying to reduce the harm caused by prohibition, which sounds similar to Jill Stein's position.

Johnson's campaign website likewise says "Johnson and Weld do not support the legalization of other recreational drugs that are currently illegal." But it also says, referring to the Founders, "Imagine their shock to learn that the government has decided it is appropriate to tell adults what they can put in their bodies." That, of course, is exactly what the government is doing when it "keep[s] the drugs illegal."

This article originally appeared at Forbes.com.

NEXT: Against Hate Crimes Laws, for Attacks on Cops or Anyone Else

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. ” A century of failure with this approach should have demonstrated its folly even to those unfamiliar with the economics of black markets. ”

    You’d think. It just goes to show they’re not interested in reality, both sides are mindless authoritarians.

    1. The politics of failure have failed. We must make them work again.

    2. I suppose, to a “progressive”. any prohibition (be it, alcohol, drugs, or guns) is a jobs program for street gangs, criminal cartels, and the law enforcement bureaucracy.

  2. Unreconstructed drug warrior. Thats a thought.

    1. If only anti-Prohibitionists were pushing this every chance they got:

      “Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale of the War on Drugs.

      “[Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks” Haldeman, his Chief of Staff wrote, “The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

  3. Johnson is to libertarianism what banana flavoring in candy is to actual banana’s. He is what a libertarian would be if libertarianism was dreamed up in a lab at General Mills. I would however still vote for him as the least odious one in a sad sack of candidates.

    1. Johnson is to libertarianism what banana flavoring in candy is to actual banana’s.

      Agreed. And from a political standpoint, that’s exactly what’s needed at this juncture. In a democratically elected republic, you aren’t going to see anything resembling Libertopia until you convince the (vast?) majority of the population that libertarian ideals will improve their lives. That means converting Rs and Ds. Pragmatically speaking, you will not convert Rs and Ds by making your starting point “I want to legalize heroin, dog fucking and end Medicare and Social Security.”

      The key to changing the national mind-set is incrementalism.

      You can be a principled libertarian and still believe that the way to advance the cause of liberty, politically, is through small advancements.

      1. When there’s a GOP candidate with some vague libety-ish ideas, incrementalism is the only way; when there’s a Libertarian who wants to take it slow and isn’t a bomb-thrower, incrementalism is bullshit and it’s better to vote GOP.

        1. Yeah! Principles are the last thing we need in a minor party protest candidate.

          1. When I think principles, Trump immediately leaps to mind.

            1. Well, he is a minor party protest candidate….

        2. This certainly seems to be what some mouth breathers around here believe. Although if they were honest they’d admit that the LP could be running a ticket of Milton Friedman and Murray Rothbard for president and they’d still vote TEAM RED.

          1. And right on cue…

          2. Friedman designed out tax withholding so clearly isnt a real libertarian.

            1. You jest, but I could see putting forward that argument for real.

              And, IIRC, didn’t Friedman later admit that he was wrong about tax withholding?

              1. didn’t Friedman later admit that he was wrong about tax withholding?

                Nevermind.

                He later said, “I have no apologies for it, but I really wish we hadn’t found it necessary and I wish there were some way of abolishing withholding now.”

      2. “The key to changing the national mind-set is incrementalism”

        I agree with this and it isn’t just a matter of convincing voters. There are practical reasons. Education should be a private matter with actual consumer choice. That doesn’t mean we can announce tomorrow that all government schools are shut down starting Wednesday. Assuming you are tearing down the state it has to be done responsibly which in many cases means carefully over time.

        As far as Johnson he moves us incrementally in the right direction but he doesn’t sound very libertarian. If I were running for president I wouldn’t emphasize heroin legalization but I would say something like.

        “As a practical matter we can’t legalize all drugs tomorrow but we can begin moving in that direction tomorrow. We have proven that the criminalization/incarceration approach doesn’t work so we need to move towards a model where we discourage hard drug use via avenues that are more peaceful than the ones machine gun wielding swat teams use. We have proven this approach can work for cigarettes and as we move towards that approach we can start diverting law enforcement resources towards prosecuting crimes with real victims. The real question is do you want a society that locks up a sad sack heroin addict or one that locks up serial rapists. In a world with limited resources you probably can’t have both.”

        That leaves it in a situation where you don’t scare people today and don’t have to actively ignore libertarian principals.

        1. “As a practical matter we can’t legalize all drugs tomorrow but we can begin moving in that direction tomorrow. We have proven that the criminalization/incarceration approach doesn’t work so we need to move towards a model where we discourage hard drug use via avenues…

          Isn’t that effectively what he said when ambushed on CNN?

          Granted, he didn’t say it well, but I think that’s what he was getting at.

          And yes, I’d like to see him work in more principles where it won’t scare the “straights.” He’s certainly not perfect, but he’s significantly better than any of the alternatives.

          1. [quote]He’s certainly not perfect, but he’s significantly better than any of the alternatives.[/quote]

            I basically feel like Johnson is the lesser good instead of the the lesser evil. He’s not perfect, but he’s a good candidate with flaws, as opposed to being a bad candidate that I’m willing to hold my nose and vote for because he happens to agree with me on a few key issues.

            I might feel differently if the ticket were Weld/Johnson not Johnson/Weld, but as it is, I feel like I’ll be able to vote for Johnson in November and feel good about doing so.

          2. I think the distinction I make is he left me feeling like he considers such things “crazy talk” not that yes it is something we need to get to but can be done in a measured way.

        2. “where you don’t scare people today”

          See, this is the problem. You need to scare people. Scare tactics is largely how political ideas these days are becoming popular. Dishonest and distasteful, but it seems to work.

          1. You need to scare people about the existing system maybe. You don’t scare them away from your candidate.

      3. The late Harry Browne, decried by many libertarian purists as a pragmatist, disagreed. He understood public choice economics, and correctly reasoned that cutting a few government programs and making matching small cuts in taxes is hard, because the great majority see little benefit and those affected by the lost programs complain loudly. But eliminate the income tax entirely, overnight, and practically every taxpayer sees a large net gain.

    2. But at least it’s trusted American-made artificial flavoring; the Big Two is to libertarianism what shady artificial banana flavoring imported from China is to real bananas.

  4. You left out the views of one of the candidates: Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party. He says, “I view the drug war as a total failure and would stop it immediately. The United States certainly has a right to determine what crosses its borders but in general drug policy should be on the state level. I personally favor decriminalization of drugs.”

    This is in the context of an interview published in Liberty Hangout, entitled “Constitution Party Candidate, Darrell Castle, Says He’s More Libertarian Than Gary Johnson.”

    Now that’s an interesting claim, Reason should certainly investigate it.

    Here’s some more –

    QUESTION: “This next question ties in with drug policy. Do you see a role for the federal government in regulating and/or prohibiting things such as prostitution, gambling, smoking, polygamous relationships or any other activities made by consenting adults?”

    ANSWER: “No I really don’t. The states are free of course to regulate if their people prefer but I see no Constitutional role in such things except possibly to control the spread of pandemic disease or something of that nature.”

    1. There’s some other fun stuff in the interview, like securing the border.

      1. I see Fusion Magazine and Lyndon LaRouche nationalsocialism are alive and well in the Constitu-shun Party. Todes-schutzen sure as hell secured those borders in the Democratic People’s Republic of Stasi Germany, while it lasted…

    2. You left out the views of one of the candidates: Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party.

      You should go to a Constitution Party site and troll there.

      1. I should go to yo momma’s house and entertain her.

        1. (I mean entertain her with a good game of checkers, get your mind out of the gutter)

      2. Great point, because only Libertarian views get written about on this site.

        1. If you’re here to discuss/debate libertarian philosophies, pull up a chair. If you’re here to troll for the opposition, feel free to join Eddie at another site.

          1. Oh good, the gatekeepers here.

            1. You can feel free to fuck off too.

              1. There’s the tolerance for which you are well noted, Cytotoxic.

                1. Did I force anyone to leave? Nope. Invited you all to.

                  If you are here in good faith, I have no problem with differing opinions. If you are here to troll, like Eddie and others, you can fuck off and die in a fire. My philosophy doesn’t require me to be “tolerant” of assholes any further than the adhering to the NAP.

                  If you can’t see the difference, that’s your fucking problem.

                  1. F d’A, can you get along with *anyone* without cursing at them?

                    1. Fuck you, Eddie, you fucking troll.

                2. There’s the tolerance for which you are well noted, Cytotoxic.

                  F d’A is aka Cytotoxic?

                  What, one nick isn’t enough to contain his mendacious attempts at purifying the commentariate here via calls for social exclusion in the name of ideological purity?

    3. I think that is the right answer. There is no way you can square the federal drug laws as they are currently written with any originalist interpretation of the Constitution.

      The Feds I think have the power to ban the importation of whatever they want and ban the interstate sale of drugs. They absolutely do not have the authority to ban the intra state sale of drugs much less the possession of drugs.

      Good for this guy for seeing that. Time and again alleged strict constructionist conservatives all about overturning the Wickard interpretation of of the commerce clause but then are all about the federal drug war, because Drugs are DIFFERENT!! like that matters.

      1. The 18th amendment made it very clear that the Feds have no power to control drugs without an amendment.

        1. That is a great point. We needed an amendment to ban alcohol but don’t to ban drugs? Again, I think the fed monopoly over interstate and foreign commerce gives the feds the power to ban the importation or interstate sale of drugs, but nothing more than that.

          1. Awww, isnt that cute, congress thinks they need an amendment to do things outside the constitution. — Every politician today reacting to my argument.

        2. And Prohibition made it clear that it was a bad idea, so they fixed it back then.

    4. You left out the views of one of the candidates: Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party.

      The Constitution Party currently has ballot access in only13 states. I know Libertarians are Quixotic dreamers, but God-damned, he’s probably not even gonna get on the ballot in enough state to even have a mathematical chance at winning, which is probably why he was “left out,” not because of some KOSMO FAGGIT plot to keep the “real libertarian” down.

      Currently the Green and Libertarian Parties are the only third parties with ballot access in enough states to have a mathematical chance at winning (270+ electoral college votes). You might as well also bitch about reason “leaving out ” The American Independence Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Reform Party, the American Party, America’s Party, the American Freedom Party, the Constitution Party (Idaho), the Independent American Party, the Nutrition Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Prohibition Party, the Veterans Party of America, the American Solidarity Party, the Socialist Equality Party, the Socialist Party USA, the Workers World Party, and all the miscellaneous independent candidates.

      1. Pornography, obscenity and sexually oriented businesses are a distortion of the true nature of sex created by God for the procreative union between one man and one woman in the holy bonds of matrimony. This results in emotional, physical, spiritual and financial costs to individuals, families and communities.

        Due to a lack of prosecution, the sexually oriented business industry has proliferated, aggravating the problems of child pornography, human trafficking and sexually transmitted diseases. This is decreasing our safety by increasing crime rates, specifically rape and molestation in additional to the loss of dignity belonging to all human beings.

        We call on our local, state and federal governments to uphold our First Amendment right to free speech by vigorously enforcing all laws against obscenity.

        We call on all levels of government to protect and promote that which is truly free speech while vigorously defending and enforcing laws that protect us from the proliferation of the pornography and sexually oriented business industries because they are proven to be toxic to community standards, lower property values and increase crime.

        While we believe in the responsibility of the individual and corporate entities to regulate themselves, we also believe that government plays a vital role in protecting all citizens, particularly our most vulnerable, women and children, from exploitation.

        1. The SugarFree clause.

          They are coming for you.

          1. I know. I feel persecuted, yo.

            1. If you look at the interview, you’ll see that Castle seems to disagree with his own party about regulation of vice involving consenting adults.

              I know it’s horrifying to see a candidate reject his own party’s platform…

      2. Technically, one state can give you a mathematical chance at winning, as finishing 3rd in the EC race with a very split top two gets you on the ballot in the HoR.

        1. Good point. Gary Johnson should campaign exclusively in Utah then?

      3. They have an active ballot-access campaign and are aiming for 42 states.

        They had access in a majority of states in 2012, one of only three “third parties” to do so – the other parties were the Libertarians and the Greens.

        So your assertion is basically that they’ll do worse this year than in 2012.

        1. 13 states is an awfully low number this late in the race (4 months left). Maybe they’ll make it, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

          1. They claim they have ballot access already in about 18 states (if I counted correctly) and (if I counted correctly) are organizing access petitions in 21 states, plus write-in petitions in 2 states.

            If they’re lying/unduly optimistic, I’d like to hear about it.

    5. Oh YEAH?! Well they also left out Bob Whitaker!! Of the American Freedom Party!! The crazy motherfucker who thinks that the reason Muslims are taking over Europe is that Muslims have society, and Europeans don’t have a society, because they haven’t embraced the virtues of white nationalism enough!!

      WHY REASON NO PROMOTE THE POSITIONS OF THE CRAZY-ASS WHITAKER>!??!?!!?!

  5. Trump sounds like an unreconstructed drug warrior.

    No he doesn’t:

    [Trump] said that legalizing drugs is the only way to win the war against what he considers to be one of America’s most serious problems.

    Trump blamed the country’s drug problems on politicians who “don’t have any guts” and enforcement efforts that are “a joke.”

    “We’re losing badly the war on drugs,” Trump said. “You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”

    Trump said tax revenues from a legalized drug trade could be spent to educate the public on the dangers of drug use.

    In an interview, Trump said he felt it was an appropriate time to broach his ideas “because South Florida has such a huge problem with drugs.”

    “What I’d like to do maybe by bringing it up is cause enough controversy that you get into a dialogue on the issue of drugs so people will start to realize that this is the only answer; there is no other answer,” Trump said.

    It is more accurate toTrump is a reconstructed drug warrior unless he is just dissembling out of political expediency to hide views he publicly held and advocated for over 20 years

    1. “more accurate to say”

    2. That seems…. Entirely reasonable to me.

      1. And I never liked the idea of having the states legalize it and the feds not enforce it, but just leave the federal laws on the books.

        1) I personally don’t like the idea of the executive picking and choosing which laws to enforce. That means a regime change may cause an enforcement change and that’s a recipe for instability.

        2) It doesn’t really solve the problem. By the feds enforcing a law and the states fighting it, you at least have a chance to settle it in the courts. If you want to fix a problematic law, you have to have it repealed or declared unconstitutional. Just ignoring it isn’t a ‘fix’.

    3. Bush advocated hanging hemp shovers. The GO-Pee platform is a Mein Kampf with enjoyable drugs taking the place of the old “stock exchange jewry” rhetoric that so favorably impressed Republicans since Herbert Hoover was elected. Trump is mechanically repeating what the GO-Pee put in its platform, nothing more.

      1. Hank Phillips, proving once again: homemade paint chips are just as tasty as the store-boughts.

    4. It is funny that people have this article of religious faith that Trump is some kind of an idiot. What he is saying here is actually pretty subtle for a politician.

      Trump blamed the country’s drug problems on politicians who “don’t have any guts” and enforcement efforts that are “a joke.”

      That sounds like he is some crazy drug warrior until you read the rest of what he said. He says at the end

      What I’d like to do maybe by bringing it up is cause enough controversy that you get into a dialogue on the issue of drugs so people will start to realize that this is the only answer; there is no other answer,” Trump said.

      What he is saying is that unless you are willing to go all in and do some really horrible and draconian things, forget it. You are not enforcing the drug laws in any meaningful way. Since no one wants those draconian measures, then they need to understand the drug war has failed and we need to stop pretending otherwise and legalize and tax drugs.

      That is not only a reasonable statement, it is also a fairly intellectually sophisticated statement. Certainly much more sophisticated and subtle than the usual “drugs are poison” and “give drug users a chance” crap that we usually get from both sides of the issue.

  6. “keep the drugs illegal”

    Not exactly the campaign slogan you want to here from the Libertarian Party nominee.

    The Constitution Party candidate, Darrel Castle, is right that he is more libertarian than Gary Johnson.

    1. If sending men with guns to force girls to reproduce against their will, the Mohammedan parties in Iraq and Afghanistan are as libertarian as the Constitution Party, and no less superstitious.

      1. The Constitution Party: Pro-Rape!

        … not

      2. … Are you saying that the Constitution Party is advocating for forcing girls to reproduce at gunpoint?

        1. Don’t bother him with logic. All he hears is “who wants cake.”

        2. I don’t know the constitution party platform, but I assume this is a pro-life reference?

    2. WHY YOU ALWAYS TALK ABOUT CASTLE?! WHY YOU NO DEVOTE TIME TO TALK ABOUT HEDGES AND THE PROHIBITION PARTY?! SO UNFAIR THAT YOU NEVER TALK ABOUT ANYONE OTHER THAN CASTLE!!

      1. Overall, I do like Castle, but you’re getting really annoying by bitching that people aren’t giving your preferred candidate enough time in the limelight.

        I’m not going to vote Castle, though. I like some of what he says, but I don’t think he’s smart enough to be a candidate I want to support. Just for the record, any candidate that thinks it’s a good strategy to try to siphon off votes from the Libertarian Party, I don’t think is very intelligent.

        Johnson’s attempts at trying to appeal to centrists have been largely blunderous. However, trying to get moderate votes is a strategy with better payoff than trying to gain the support and vote of one-hundredth of the electorate.

        If Castle changes up his strategy to a smarter goal than “try to ride on our Ron Paul endorsement from 2008 and capture the tiny libertarian vote”, I may reconsider. Until then, Castle just isn’t taking his campaign all that seriously and I don’t think devoting much time to him in the media is a worthwhile investment, regardless of how butthurt you may be over that.

  7. The same progression occurred with beer. As long as the Prohibition party was getting about 1% of the spoiler vote, those votes had a 10% law-changing leverage effect. The Democrats at the 1934 Klanbake were firmly for men with guns and poisoning of alcohol to jail and kill those beer-swilling avatars of Demonic Possession. Bibulous Republican President Harding had just been poisoned to death under suspicious circumstances, so… relative silence. But Ku Klux Christians changed sides in 1928, beer became a felony, asset forfeiture destroyed the economy and cops murdered citizens until the Liberal Party formed and ran a plank for repeal of all prohibition and Sharia law in These States. The Dems had no choice then but to take those wet spoiler votes off the table and FDR won three times in a row.

    It CAN happen here, once folks understand that law-changing spoiler votes have ten times the law-changing bang–an easily verified historical fact.

    1. You do know about the progressives huge involvement in getting prohibition passed, right? Or are you having a selective history thing going on?

      1. Are you asking Hank if he sees all issues contextualized through a particular, hate-filled lens?

        You must be new here.

        1. 2007 when I started lurking around here. I was trying to figure out when my first post was, in 2007 or 2008, but looking through the archives here is painful and the Google search feature seems to be limited to around 5 years back.

          He sounds like Shreek in his unhinged fear of Christians.

  8. Opposing the criminalization of consensual adult activities covers a lot of ground, and as it relates to psychoactive substances the principle cannot logically be limited to marijuana. Yet Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who was the Libertarian nominee in 2012 and tops the ticket again this year, is trying to do just that.

    Yep…

    There are differences between long-term goals and short-term goals.

    You can be a principled libertarian (not speaking of GJ perse) and still believe that incrementalism is the best way to advance the march of liberty.

    How do you eat an elephant?

    One bite at a time.

    1. I’m afraid that incrementalism is not going to work at this point. The statist are gaining by leaps and bounds and we’re somehow supposed to inch our way out of that?

      Here’s how that plays out:

      Democrats and Republicans team up to pass a ‘no fly, no buy’ bill and after passing, the list ‘unexpectedly’ grows from 200,000 people to 20 million.

      But don’t worry, congress has passed a bill to give people on the list the chance to challenge it in court. Which will take years and cost thousands of dollars of their own money, with no guaranteed results.

      Cosmos write articles claiming libertarian moment.

      List grows to 30 million.

      1. Yeah, Rs and Ds do bad shit. No kidding.

        What’s your plan to stop it? Got one? Let’s hear it. I’m open to almost anything.

        Incrementalism has worked out pretty well for the Liberals Democrats Progressives Socialists Communists Dictators.

        How do you get from where we are now to Libertopia?

        1. Yeah, the progs got here through incrementalism. No doubt about that. Took them 100 years while everyone else was sleeping. When people suddenly noticed, it was too late. They own the media, our education system, the courts, and half of our government. They are still inching forward, so inching back can best result in a slower loss of liberty, although at some point, it won’t matter, since we’ll lose our ability to even inch back.

          I think the solution is in educating millenials about liberty. Because people my age or older, they are very difficult to change. You will get a few, but the future lies in educating the millenials and getting them to like the idea of liberty instead of statism. And it has to be done through media. Look at the stuff they view, it’s all owned by leftists. Libertarians have no platform and are not seeking one. McAfee was the only libertarian candidate who seemed to know this, and they wanted Johnson instead. There’s no future in a Johnson. He’s a dinosaur.

          1. My daughter’s just about to head off to college and has her head pretty well into liberty (and possibly libertarianism, but I’m not going to push her into it, because negative psychology) but she had McAfee pegged as a ‘howling loon’, despite loving those videos for pure entertainment; she has friends who saw him in the same light.

            Whatever the path to liberty looks like, it don’t look like a crowd of young people flocking towards McAfee.

            1. despite loving those videos

              To get someone to love liberty, they have to know about it.

              Most youngsters do not have libertarian parents to guide them. They have statist pantshitting parents. But they all love media.

              1. Hyp, were you a conservative or liberal before a libertarian? Did you get where you are over night or did you evolve into it? Did you start off with the position that “I want people to be able to fuck dogs” or was it something more innocuous?

                1. Both. I converted to libertarian in 2007, after I learned what it was. Before that, I was just confused. True story.

                  What I’m trying to say here is that if libertarians want to grow their numbers, they cannot change their platform to be more inclusive of statists, instead we have to increase our outreach by becoming more hip and media savvy, while not becoming more like hipster douchebags or statist republicans.

                  I’m not sure how you’re getting I was an instant libertarian out of me trying to say we need to use media to our advantage. Maybe I’m just rambling too much.

                  1. I’m not sure how you’re getting I was an instant libertarian

                    No, you misunderstand. I was genuinely asking. My assumption is that the vast majority of libertarians get there incrementally. So, the point is, it’s not really likely that you’ll get people to go from the Teams to full anarchist in anything resembling a short timeframe.

                    What I’m trying to say here is that if libertarians want to grow their numbers, they cannot change their platform to be more inclusive of statists

                    I agree. The party should never change their platform. The party (or little l libertarians) are the educators. Just because we support a candidate that isn’t pushing the full platform at this particular point in time, doesn’t mean we need to change or water down the platform.

                    You, I, the LP and libertarians in general can adhere to our principles, further teach those principles to the new recruits after we get their heads in the tent while, at the same time, embracing a pragmatic approach to changing the political climate over time.

                    Just because I’m a principled libertarian doesn’t mean a libertarian-lite guy like GJ isn’t the right answer in the short term to reach the “straights.”

          2. Yeah, why wouldn’t folks (millennials included) be attracted to a platform headed by a guy advocating immediately taking away their free shit, and legal dog fucking, who’s wanted for questioning in connection with a murder?

            Look, I like McAfee. He’s much, much closer to my beliefs than GJ. But it ain’t me and you that need to be convinced. We’ve thought it through. We know liberty is the answer. That notion is completely foreign to the target audience. You don’t change people’s minds by clubbing them over the head with huge departures from what they consider normal. Their shields immediately go up and they reject you.

            Small additive victories that you can point to as examples of how the philosophy works. Teach principles along the way. (Yes, I agree with you completely on the education part.)

            1. Except that Johnson is really looking like an idiot every time he gets exposure. Did you see any of his interviews with media? Holy fuck, what a clown. That’s not helping us.

              1. Yeah, well, I voted for Rand. Agreed, he needs to get a coach.

          3. Nah. In your FIRST paragraph you outlined a better stratagem:

            Infiltrate schools, courts, and the government.

  9. Trump, Clinton, Stein, and Johnson on Drugs

    Worst swinger party ever.

    1. STOP GIVING SUGARFREE IDEAS

      1. It all started with martinis in the hot tub, keys had already been tossed in the crystal bowl on the coffee table…

        1. Trump, violating Stein under the frothy bubbles of the hot tub said “I’ll stop unless you let Bernie take over as the Green Party candidate…”

          1. Weld, meanwhile, held the cankles up with his shoulders as Gary vetoed her from underneath 750 times.

            1. *barf*

  10. So basically, every one of them is too stupid, too dishonest, or too cowardly to say, “The biggest societal disasters have resulted from the black market in drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth. So their legalization should be the ultimate goal. Let’s start the rollback with pot, but don’t expect that this is going have any real impact on crime and the destruction of the underclass.”

    1. So basically, every one of them is too stupid, too dishonest, or too cowardly to say…

      Well, they are politicians.

    2. Why not just hammer, hammer, hammer this until they shut up?

      1. Because we’re smarter than the Portuguese … or something?

        1. *Deftly stacks poker chips with one hand*

          I’m all in. All I got is …or something.

          1. “The country once practically ruled the world. Then they legalized drugs ….”

    3. Why would they do anything against their own self interest?

  11. Compare and contrast what the the candidates actually say about drug legalization during the current campaign:

    GayJay:

    “Johnson and Weld do not support the legalization of other recreational drugs that are currently illegal.”

    Trump:

    I said it’s something that should be studied and maybe should continue to be studied.

    That a major party nominee remains open to the idea that drug legalization is something that should be considered is what Matt and Nick might call a “libertarian moment”. Despite the Libertarian Party candidate being adamantly (and incongruously) opposed to broad drug legalization we can take heart in the fact that he is a proven loser who stands zero chance of attaining office.

  12. Once the United Food and Commercial Workers started unionizing dispensary workers all over the country–and especially once the UFCW reaffilliated with the AFL-CIO, Democrats across the country getting on board with legalization became all but inevitable.

    Incidentally, the growers seem to have gravitated to the Teamsters, which is interesting because it means that in some places, the marijuana growers and the police are represented by the same union. That should help in areas with Democratic Party machines in major cities–where the police unions are a powerful force.

    Focusing on political candidates is looking for the tail to wag the dog. The Republican Party is probably more driven by ideas circulating at the grass roots level as evidenced by the successes of the Tea Party and Donald Trump, but the Democratic Party is more driven by bureaucrats’ and unions’ interests–and the marijuana industry is increasingly becoming intertwined with those.

    It’s a libertarian conundrum, I guess, if the more regulated and unionized marijuana becomes, the more legal it gets. Fighting for legalization, in that case, can look a lot like fighting to get marijuana regulated and unionized. I suppose we’re all pragmatists at some point, and I guess the benefits of legalization are worth all the union and regulatory baggage, but it does come with a lot of baggage.

    I don’t suppose hoping for some regulatory framework better than what we have for alcohol was very realistic.

    1. The question is do the strings attacked to it become a weapon to be used against other freedoms such that the increased freedom associated with the scheme is not worth the corresponding price. Sometimes it is not. Sometimes increases in freedom are fairly illusory and are accomplished in ways that set a precedent that becomes a weapon the left uses to club its enemies, see e.g. gay marriage.

      In this case, it is probably still worth it. Understand that we will still have drug laws and people will still get arrested for growing and selling pot, they will just get arrested for violating the state monopoly. That sucks. But, it is still probably better than it remaining illegal. At least users get increased freedom and the people arrested for bucking the state monopoly, while still screwed are screwed no worse than they were before.

      1. If street gangs don’t have as much money to pass around and, hence, can’t afford to operate a hardcore group as large as it was, then that alone might be worth the baggage.

        In huge sections of LA, being affiliated (as opposed to being a hardcore soldier) is mandatory. People think that Boyz in the Hood model where people agonize over whether to join a gang or go to college is somehow realistic. It isn’t.

        If affiliation is mandatory and has been since circa 1990, then in huge chunks of LA, everyone under the age of 25 is affiliated with a gang. They’re not all hardcore soldiers, but they’re all affiliated.

        I don’t see how that section of society progresses when everyone is affiliated with a street gang. In addition to all the qualitative benefits I see to getting rid of the drug war in regards to the bill of rights, there’s only one way to pull the rug out from under gang affiliation that’s so widespread. You gotta slash their revenue and make them downsize.

        When there’s no more room in the hardcore set for kids in the pool of the affiliated to graduate to, eventually they’ll have to stop encouraging affiliation. At least we better hope so–because there isn’t any other reasonable solution that I can see. We’re not about to get these people to start participating in civil society by throwing them in prison or spending more on public education.

        1. The street gangs will be run out of business if and only if the government is not so greedy and stupid that they set the taxes and regulations so high that they create their own black market. Street gangs have been making big money selling tax free cigarettes for decades. The same thing could and sadly probably will happen with pot. The thing with pot is that it is easy to produce and is fungible. If I have pot on me, how do you tell that it was bought from a legal dispensary? So, if the government taxes too much, there will still be a black market for tax free pot that will be nearly as harmful as the black market for illegal pot is now.

          1. The street gangs will be run out of business if and only if the government is not so greedy and stupid that they set the taxes and regulations so high that they create their own black market.

            I can just about guarantee you that they’ll fuck it up in just that way. Given the number progs I’ve met who think the thing to do is to legalize drugs and then “tax the shit out of it” I think it’s just about guaranteed. And not surprising since it’s a win-win for progtards: they get the smug satisfaction of “ending the WoD” without actually ending anything, plus their pub-sec police and prison guard union allies get to maintain the status quo. Everyone’s happy, except of course the poor schmucks who still get sent to prison for selling untaxed drugs.

            1. I agree. I have zero faith they won’t fuck this up and we will end up with all the same problems we have now.

            2. I can just about guarantee you that they’ll fuck it up in just that way. Given the number progs I’ve met who think the thing to do is to legalize drugs and then “tax the shit out of it” I think it’s just about guaranteed.

              Depends on the magnitude. Difference between booze and cigarettes. We don’t seem to have a yuge black market for booze, but we do for cigs. There is a line in there somewhere. (not advocating for tax)

          2. As Rich has been saying, well said. This is what the squishy political middle needs to understand about “tax and regulate” coupled with legalization. It shouldn’t be so counterintuitive that if the government makes legalized pot as expensive as illegal pot, there will still be illegal pot.

          3. Legalization brings the cost of buying marijuana down in all sorts of ways. Not having to worry about being arrested by the cops or shot by a gang member when you buy it from a legal shop is something a lot of people will pay extra for.

            In California, we’ve had de facto legalization in some ways–in that if you can’t find a justification for a medical marijuana card, then you aren’t really trying to get one.

            On the other hand, California is engaging in active gun confiscation programs.

            So, if you have registered a firearm . . . ever . . . and you don’t want the police raiding your house for your legal firearms (or God forbid unregistered firearms), then you better not ask for a medical marijuana card. ’cause even if they aren’t checking that database yet, eventually, California’s gun grabbers are coming after you any way they can.

  13. Wasn’t this posted last week, or am I having Deja Vu? Was something changed in the Matrix?

    *stands ups, looks over cubicle wall to see agents in black suits coming my direction*

    Oh shit…

  14. what she has in mind is, at best, giving consumers of politically incorrect intoxicants viewpoints a choice between a treatment slot and a jail cell.

    FTFY

    1. I think forced treatment is worse than jail. Forced treatment will require much lower standards of due process than jail. Forced treatment is also just thought control. You can go to jail and say “fuck you I still like drugs” and eventually you will server your sentence and get out. Say that in treatment and they declare you a treatment failure and never let you out.

      Worse, there are levels of criminal punishment. People can get probation and shorter or longer sentences and be sent to different levels of security jail depending on the seriousness of their offense. There is only one level of treatment. That means the guy who gets caught with a single hit of cocaine gets stuck in the same program and treated exactly the same as someone is a complete degenerate addict. Everyone is an equal addict in treatment.

      I think anyone who thinks switching to a treatment regime is better than outright criminal prohibition is kidding themselves. Treatment is not only unscientific hookum, but also it can when a non additct is subjected to it, be in many ways worse than jail. Fuck that.

      1. I think anyone who thinks switching to a treatment regime is better than outright criminal prohibition is kidding themselves.

        They tend to be people who think laws are magic: if it sounds good on paper, it will work in practice!

        1. Wait. Let’s not be too hasty here.

          Given that such treatment is covered by Democratcare, it’ll be *free*!

          1. I agree, it will be free for the treated victims, but it won’t be free for you and I. Get ready for another massive tax increase. Add that to free college.

            1. You do realize I was being sarcastic, right?

              What have *you* been smoking?

              1. Hyperion was being sarcastic…wait, are you being sarcastic? I’m so lost on all the sarc.

                1. It’s sarcasm all the way down.

              2. Of course. I agreed with you. And then added my own sarcasm.

        2. I am always amazed at how little people understand the criminal justice system. Most people have no clue how it actually works and thus do not understand how brutal and in exact it is and most importantly its limitations.

          1. If you haven’t done anything wrong. It doesn’t affect me.

            1. +1 moth in the teletype

              1. You do realize I was being sarcastic? Pass that pipe over here.

      2. Well said.

        Plus, unlike jail, there’s the aspect of “We only want to help you!”

        *** shudders ***

      3. That means the guy who gets caught with a single hit of cocaine gets stuck in the same program and treated exactly the same as someone is a complete degenerate addict.

        Also, I suspect the guy who got caught with a bump of coke or half a lit of weed will end up learning a lot from the degenerate addict and may come out even worse than when he went in.

    2. I suspect if Her Cankleness got her wish, people with incorrect viewpoints won’t even be given the option of forced treatment.

  15. Trump, Clinton, Stein, and Johnson on Drugs

    Well, that explains a lot.

    1. I think Hillary would benefit from taking a few drugs. Pot would probably mellow her out and might make her a little bit human. LSD or some of the harder psychedelics might get her over whatever issues she has that have made her so craven and evil.

      1. LSD is a long ride. Mescaline would be better.

        1. Though it depends on what you want to happen. Want her to completely go insane? Dose her with LSD. Want her to get a serious does of introversion, self inspection, and awareness? Perhaps something like mescaline or shrooms.

          Though in her case I think a healthy dose of strychnine would do the trick.

        2. It couldn’t make her any worse. It might do her some good.

          We could make it a reality show. In lieu of one of the debates, each of the two major candidates has to take a hit of LSD while America watches.

          1. I assume you’ve never done the stuff or you wouldn’t say that. Bad trips are terrible things to experience.

            1. Those records are permanently sealed. Yes, I understand the risks involved and also it is my understanding that the stuff you get today is of incredibly poor quality compared to what people like Ken Kesey were doing back in the day when it was legal and of pharmaceutical grade.

              That being said, i was kidding about requiring the candidates to take it. I do however stand behind my claim that even the worst trip could not make Hillary any worse than she already is.

              1. I like the idea of a 4-way debate while on acid.

                1. I like the idea of a 4-way debate while on acid.

                  Or at least one where that foam starts dropping from the ceiling and the music is all untz untz untz.

                  1. “Could you repeat the question?”

                    “I don’t think so.”

                    “That’s OK — it’s repeating itself.”

            2. OK, compromise. Have everyone in the debates breathing nitrous oxide.

            3. I wonder if we don’t learn more from the bad trips.

              *Just spitballin*

          2. That wouldn’t really be fair. Trump is basically straight edge. Clinton, at least is probably very used to pharmaceuticals. Who knows about Stein. And Johnson is always on drugs.

            1. That is a good point. I also imagine that Hillary’s health problems are much worse than we know and it would not surprise me at all if she is on some kind of powerful pharmaceutical most if not all of the time. She really is more machine than man these days.

              1. “We can rebuild her. We have the technology.”

              2. So her VP pick really is critical, right? She’ll pick the absolute worst,* no doubt.

                *Well, if it’s Nikki, it won’t be so bad.

                1. Her VP pick is critical. The problem is that she is likely to pick the worst possible choice as impeachment insurance. If she wins, there is a very real possibility that she will end up incapacitated but no one willing to do anything about it for fear of making her idiot VP President.

                  She is just a fucking disaster. We really do live in an upside down world. The people who should be screaming to dump their candidate are Democrats. Hillary is the one who is both morally unfit to be president and stands a real chance of creating a constitutional crisis as President, not Trump. Republicans say they should be killing Hillary if not for Trump, well the Democrats could say they would be killing Trump if not for Hillary. Yet, no one has to my knowledge ever demanded the Democrats dump Hillary. imagine if the Democrats dumped Hillary at the convention and nominated someone like Jim Webb. He would win easily. Yet, the Democrats don’t even consider it. They are nominating someone who isn’t even physically up to the job much less morally and somehow it is the Republicans who have the problem.

                  1. Again — well said.

                  2. I’m not so sure Jim Webb would win. Democrats are running Hillary based on name recognition alone. That peculiar human tendency to vote for the name you’ve heard of is what Dems are counting on, and they wouldn’t get that with Webb.

                    1. I think Webb would win easily. If Trump wins it will be because enough people who voted for Obama last time either stay home, vote third party or vote for him because they just can’t stomach Hillary. Any Democrat who can stand up and look reasonable and not criminal would likely beat Trump. And I say that as someone who will vote for Trump.

      2. We’d all benefit if she took over 200 cc’s of morphine.

        1. And mixed in a couple of shots of brandy just to be sure.

  16. The Clinthag says:

    Through improved treatment, prevention, and training by businesses that my crony friends will start with your tax dolloars, we can end this quiet epidemic once and for all keep this racket going forever!

    1. Yeah just watch the Clinton Foundation spawn a new branch for “Treatment and Prevention of Drug Addiction”

      1. And another massive tax, for the children.

        1. Those poor, drug addicted children… Just think of them before you complain.

  17. Jill Stein sounds better on drugs than Johnson. What a sad fucking day for libertarians.

    There is something worse and more sinister about a republican who’s pretending to be a libertarian, than there is about a republican who’s not pretending to be anything outside of another asshole statist republican.

    1. No kidding. I’ll still be voting for Johnson since he comes with the whole package, but at least Stein is willing to insert herself into unpopular places.

      1. Johnson comes with the full package, eh?

      2. at least Stein is willing to insert herself into unpopular places.

        PHRASING!

    2. Johnson is what he has always been, a boring left of center Republican. Joining the LP didn’t change that.

      1. Left of center or right of center?

        He vetoed more bills than most other GOP governors.

        I think up of center. Still in the GOP quadrant, but up the libertarian side of the square.

        1. Johnson really wants to mainstream the libertarian brand, to undo the “wide-eyed crazies” image that libertarians have had to suffer. However, I think he’s acting too mainstream; he should have condemned Hillary’s actions, for example, instead of essentially applauding the double-standard status quo.

          1. I get the mainstream part. Like you, I don’t see how calling Hillary a crook is outside of the mainstream. Even Democrats admit that.

            1. I mean the mainstream to be like the David Brooks kind; ardent defenders of the crooked status quo. It’s fine as strategy to appear somewhat mainstream, but never to over do it. I think Johnson has.

          2. It’s a mistake. Just like it was a mistake when Rand pandered to SoCons.

            What happens is, people who are disillusioned with the system, take a look at you and find out that … wow, you are just like the others. And they lose interest.

            Bernie is a retard, but he’s ‘different’ than the other retards.

            1. Exactly that. And Rand pandering to the SCONs was an enormous mistake. The irony is that Trump actually got more SOCON votes than both Cruz and Paul even though both of them tried to appeal to the SOCONs specifically. In fairness I don’t think Paul pandered so much as tried to shape his message. Cruz was the one who pandered. His “God wants you to vote for me” routine is what tuned me off to him. When Glen Beck is your most well known public supporter, you have definitely done something very wrong.

              The thing is SOCONs are not all single issue SOCON voters. They are a diverse group who don’t like the status quo any better than the rest of us. So pandering to them and pretending they all vote strictly on God and abortion didn’t even win many of their votes.

        2. That just means that he at least tried to be what Republicans are supposed to be, which granted makes him better than about 90% of the other Republicans.

  18. While we believe in the responsibility of the individual and corporate entities to regulate themselves, we also believe that government plays a vital role in protecting all citizens, particularly our most vulnerable, women and children, from exploitation.

    Freedom is Slavery, eh?

    1. women

      If women are just as capable as men, then they don’t need extra government protection, do they?

    2. The fallacy of the “lesser evil” seems to apply here. Prior to 1914 we didn’t have drug laws. Yes, there were people who had become addicted to one of the narcotics, but most of them could still function, if only to a somewhat lesser degree. It would appear from a study of history that the government’s “solution” only made the problem worse instead of better. It also appears that those who run governments never can learn from their earlier mistakes that “prohibition” of something that many people want always ends in failure.

  19. I’ll still be voting for Johnson since he comes with the whole package, but at least Stein is willing to insert herself into unpopular places.

    Euphemistically speaking, of course.

  20. Still in the GOP quadrant, but up the libertarian side of the square.

    A sort of Casual Friday Republicanism in libertarian clothing?

    1. Kind of like only being a smoker when you are drinking.

  21. I left my office-job and now I am getting paid 103 usd hourly. How? I work over internet! My old work was making me miserable, so I was forced to try something different, 2 years after…I can say my life is changed-completely for the better! Check it out what i do..


    ????? http://www.CareerPlus90.com

  22. RE: Trump, Clinton, Stein, and Johnson on Drugs
    All four presidential candidates say states should be free to legalize marijuana, but they differ on whether that’s a good idea.

    I wonder how many of them would veto a law allowing MJ to be legal if Congress placed such legislation in front of them?

  23. Looks to me like Johnson is a “Libertarian In Name Only”. None of the four here seems to believe that adults should have the legal right to use whatever drugs they wish. With the corollary that they accept the full legal consequences of their actions. The same should apply to prescription drugs. As I’ve claimed on my blog on “WordPress” under the pen name of “muskegonlibertarian”, the savings in repealing all of our drug laws so far as adults are concerned run into the hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Those hundreds of billions of dollars will remain in everyone’s pocket instead of being paid to governments or to those practicing medicine in our world’s most expensive health care system.

    The best way to lower our taxes is to shrink government (local, state, federal) back to levels that it used to be back a century ago. Before those who run our local, state, and federal government started to believe that they were our “nannies” who knew better what was “good for us”….

  24. I think only one of them is really on drugs.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.