The State of the Debate #2: Against legalization

From Washington state:

On Wednesday, the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee voted against two pieces of legislation, one of which called for the legalization of marijuana, and would, among other things, make it available for sale — heavily taxed — at state liquor stores. The other would have reduced possession of marijuana from a criminal offense to a civil one.

The legalization bill (HB 2401) was voted down 6-2. For a moment, HB 1177, which would have decriminalized marijuana, looked as though it might have a chance, but it too died, with a final vote of 5-3.

In his opening remarks to the committee, Chairman Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, said he found merit in all of the arguments, pro and con, but that it came down to the question of whether the federal government or the states should be in the business of regulating marijuana. Although he favors state regulation, Hurst said, he could not in good conscience vote for a bill that conflicted with federal law.

… Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, argued that legalization would allow the state to regulate a product that has potential hazardous consequences. A vote yes, he told his fellow committee members, is a vote for control. A vote no is a vote for continued chaos.

— Lillian Tucker, The Seattle Times (2010-01-20): Pot bills go up in smoke as House panel stops both

… And that’s why I’m against legalization schemes. For decriminalization, yes, of course; but against this kind of cockamamie tax-and-regulate license-monopoly scheme, carried out in the name of exposing yet another good to government control.

It’s also why I’m against relying on electoral politics as a means of social change. When the political debate is constrained to the one side, who argue for arresting harmless potheads and locking them in cages, even though they think it is a bad idea, simply because their conscience demands absolute submission to the will of the United States federal government; and the other side, who think that marijuana ought to be legalized so that the government can use a tax-stamp scheme to more fully control people’s access to it — when, that is, the debate consists of two sides, each jockeying for position against the other to see which of them can package its policy proposals in the most authoritarian terms — when, I say, the political debate is constrained to those kind of options, it’s time to start looking for a new forum.

There’s no sense in trying to win at a rigged game; sooner or later, you need to just walk away. Go counter-economic — direct action gets the goods.

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  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2010-05-17 – The Clean Water Act Vs. Clean Water:

    […] spend all their time filling out paperwork and reporting back to the EPA instead. Meanwhile, the State of the Debate being what it is, even this weak, hyperbureaucratic solution is being opposed by the lobbying arms […]

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