Sunday, November 07, 2010

Half Baked

Josh Marshall:

More generally though, I just don't know if I think marijuana should be legalized at all. Maybe it's that I'm getting into my 40s. And maybe I'm a hypocrite. I of course know people who smoke grass. And I don't have any problem with it. Decriminalized? Yes, I think probably so. But that's not the same as legalization. It's very different actually. And let me be clear that I think our drug laws are catastrophic. They create endemic violence first in our major cities and now along the borders and it's led to generations of Americans rotting in prison. The whole war on drugs is an unmitigated disaster. And the fact that people can't use marijuana for clear medical reasons is crazy. But do I think it should be like alcohol? Anyone over 18 or 21 can buy it?

What timing! He says this during the same week that this story came out.

Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.

Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, were the most lethal to individuals. When considering their wider social effects, alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the deadliest. But overall, alcohol outranked all other substances, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Marijuana, ecstasy and LSD scored far lower.

Anyway, back to Pops and his incoherent rambling:

I remember, many years ago, talking to my father about the idea of legalization. And bear in mind, my Dad, God bless him, smoked a decent amount of grass in his day, said he didn't like the idea. One reason is that he was already a bit older by that time. But he had this very contradictory and hard to rationalize position which was that he was fine with people smoking pot but keeping it at least nominally illegal kept public usage in some check. Again, how to rationalize that in traditional civic terms? Not really sure. But frankly, I think I kind of agree.

For what it's worth, of course I've smoked pot. But for purely personal reasons I haven't in more than twenty years.

Good for me, but not for thee. It's fine for middle-class white guys to use while they're young, as long as they're discreet about it. After all, if they get busted for it, the worst that's likely to happen is a fine, or maybe some probation. As for everyone else, well...

Maybe Josh should just stick to the old "Why do you think they call it dope?" gambit -- see, kids? Smoking pot will make you stupid!


  1. Brian M11:25 AM

    Next from Josh Marshall:

    I work hard on to obtain that lush, perfect green turf. It's what a man in his forties does, dammit. Why can't those darn kids stay off my lawn rather than hang out smoking doobies and letting their pit bulls pee on my precisous, precious, grass?

  2. So your "Keep Off The Grass" sign has a double meaning?
    Man was I ever disappointed in Josh Marshall when I read this. His argument seems to be, "Things I disapprove of for vague reasons should be only slightly illegal." But there's definitely some "What about the children?!!!!!" in there, too. I think Bill O'Reilly has the same position.

  3. Come on, fellows -- if we don't instill a healthy respect in the children (who are the future) for arbitrary, contradictory rules, how can we keep them in that state of anxiety and unease so necessary to adulthood? It's like a rite of passage.

  4. Besides, Noel, it's not just Josh's golf pants that get twisted into a bunch over this; his dad thinks it's a bad idea too! And he used to smoke it a lot! QED!

    Then there's something else funny that Jacob Sullum pointed out -- apparently, Josh thinks possession should be decriminalized, but producing and transporting should still be outlawed. It's anybody's guess how keeping those aspects within the black market is going to change the catastrophic, destructive consequences of the drug war that he complains about.

    The most generous thing you can say is that he at least admits he hasn't put much thought into the issue, as if we couldn't tell.

  5. Brian M1:50 PM

    But he, unlike more intelligent bloggers, earns money off his unthoughtful perambulations. The universe is unfair! LOL

  6. You want unfair? Atrios, a professional blogger, is holding a fundraiser. Dude has one of the most unbelievably content-free, useless blogs I've ever seen, and yet he has thousands of idiots who hang out there constantly and send him money so he can post open threads over and over. Nice work if you can get it.

    I saw the link at Digby's (because, you know, Atrios needs all the publicity for his fundraiser he can get), and I laffed and laffed to see that most of the comments said much the same thing I just did.