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What's So Funny About Trying to Legalize Marijuana?

Submitted by smorgan on
Slightly less annoying than those who refuse to even debate marijuana policies are those who vaguely support our position, but still mock and insult us for caring about this. A good recent example was Glenn Beck's hostile interview with MPP's Rob Kampia, in which he treated Rob with utter contempt only to then announce that he's a libertarian and he gets it. It was just weird.

William Teach at Stop The ACLU put on a similar performance yesterday that I've read twice now and still don’t quite understand. He begins by framing the marijuana debate as the dumbest thing on the planet:

It seems like every few years we have to have this debate about marijuana, and sometimes other drugs. But, in the era of hopeNchange, it is becoming louder and more open. We know that Attorney General Eric Holder has told the DEA to stop raiding “medical marijuana” dealers, er, shops. We know that El Presidente Barack H. Obama thinks pot is a joke, and that lots of folks who voted for him thought the issue of legalizing ganja was a like, ya know, really, wow, cool, man….look, a quarter!

Then, once his condescension is fully indulged, he switches gears and says this:

I will say, I really do not think marijuana is that bad of a drug, there are certainly a lot worse, particularly alcohol, which is much more addictive, mentally and physically, than pot, and much more damaging to the body than pot. Personally, I couldn’t care less if it is legalized and taxed, I’ve done it, do not care for the affects. If someone wants to get high and it doesn’t affect anyone else, hey, we want government out of our private business, right?

Precisely. This is all perfectly simple and logical, so what was it that compelled Teach to begin with a barbed caricature of people who essentially feel exactly as he does? We keep seeing this kind of thing lately and I'm still trying to understand it.

The answer may be that we've reached a strange moment where the strength of our argument has outpaced the resolution of the cultural and political associations people attach to marijuana use. In other words, conservatives like Glenn Beck and the folks at Stop The ACLU might simultaneously agree that the war on marijuana is stupid, while also maintaining some animosity towards the stereotypical liberal hippie types that they generally identify the issue with.

If that's all this is about, that's fine, but I wonder if anyone would be surprised to learn that the founder of, Dave Borden, has never gotten high once in his life. Or that one of the fastest growing constituencies in drug policy reform right now is former police officers who've gotten involved after becoming disgusted by the injustice and corruption they witnessed on a daily basis in the war on drugs.

To a tremendous extent, the movement to fix our drug laws is not even driven by a desire among its adherents to take drugs without legal consequence. It's about people like Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo, whose dogs were shot dead in a botched police raid over some marijuana that he had nothing to do with. It's about cops choking innocent suspects, or selling drugs themselves, or framing innocent people to cover their incompetence. It's about horrible crazy fiascos you'd never even think about.

Since the effects of the drug war are never confined to those who choose to be involved, there's no easy way to stereotype people who want to change our laws. There are matters of life, liberty, and death at stake here that reach far beyond whether or not Joe Stoner can legally do as he pleases. That's why it's so hard for me to understand why people who ostensibly agree with our case nonetheless endeavor to turn this into something silly or frivolous.

Perhaps I shall email the folks at Stop The ACLU to request some further insight.

Update: I've heard back from both Jay Stephenson and William Teach at Stop The ACLU in regards to the post. Their take is that the tone of Teach's piece is intended to be humorous, while also taking a dig at naïve Obama supporters. Basically what I thought. It's always interesting to hear how peripheral observers view the issue. I appreciate that they took the time to read and respond.

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