Legislation to Legalize It

On Thursday, Barney Frank and Ron Paul will introduce legislation to end the federal war on marijuana and let the states set their own laws on it. The legislation is technically bipartisan, but Ron Paul is the only Republican sponsor of the bill. Other Democratic Party sponsors include Rep. John Conyers (MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN), Rep. Jared Polis (CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA).

Here’s a chance for the right to put their money where their mouth is regarding states’ rights. But they won’t, of course. As I argued in an earlier post, the whole states’ rights canard is a huge distraction; the right is all too happy to push for federal control over the areas they care about. Usually this involves telling other people how they should or should not live their lives, eroding individual civil rights, denying equality under the law across all groups, and so forth.

This legislation may not have a realistic shot of making it through Congress, but it does have a real chance to advance the anti-prohibition narrative in the media. Last week’s damning report about the failure of the international war on drugs and President Carter’s excellent editorial piece on the matter both provide a solid framework for discussing legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.

It’s time to start taking marijuana legalization or decriminalization seriously. Border security, the deficit, American manufacturing, and prison overcrowding are all issues that will be improved by marijuana legalization or decriminalization. Let the states go their own way with marijuana legalization or decriminalization, and the evidence will speak for itself.

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