Friday, March 28, 2014

Bill to Legalize Pot in New Jersey is the Right Step

A New Jersey lawmaker has proposed legislation to legalize marijuana in the state. The NJ Star-Ledger editorialized in support of State Sen. Nicholas Scutari's bill. 

The editors cite increased tax revenue and growing public opinion support for pot legalization, or at least reduced legal penalties for their use, as justification for legalization. The editors cite a racial element in support of their position as well; that blacks are "three times more often than whites [to be arrested], though pot-smoking is equally common." 

"The best argument for legalizing pot, however, is the failure of the government’s war against it," the editors say. Amen to that. 1020s alcohol Prohibition was disastrous, fostering widespread disrespect for the law and generating the emergence of leading criminal organizations. The War on Drugs has doubled and tripled down on those consequences.

But what is the most fundamental reason for legalizing marijuana; and by extension all drugs?
I left these comments:

I agree that pot should be legalized, but not for the reasons cited here.

Pot should not be legalized because it fattens the government's coffers, or to give the government another monopoly over another industry (through occupational licensure of marijuana producers), or because the War on Drugs has failed (even though that's true). It has nothing to do with the skin color of those arrested under this war. And it certainly has nothing to do with polls or the fallacy of historical determinism.

Pot should be legalized for one simple reason: Every individual has a right to use it if he pleases, so long as his actions don't violate the rights of others (such as driving under it's influence). Legalizing pot would be a good step in the right direction; that is to say, toward liberty and individual rights in regard to the private production, trade, and use of drugs. Of course, legalization should pertain only to adults, not children.

Related Reading:

Dueling Letters Over Rights

Ayn Rand's Theory of Rights: The Moral Foundation of a Free Society by Craig Biddle

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