Weed Whacker

I see in the news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is looking to change the DOJ’s lax policy regarding enforcement of marijuana laws. I think he’s right to do so.

To put my own cards on the table: I’d like to see pot legalized. I think it’s a silly thing to criminalize, and its illegality is a waste of judiciary, law-enforcement, and penal resources. Moreover, marijuana’s contraband status has created a truly gigantic black market that will never go away, and the substance’s enduring and widespread popularity make millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens a criminal class. Laws like this, that nobody really takes seriously, do nothing but degrade respect for the law. Finally, a regulated and taxable marijuana industry could be an enormously productive economic sector.

Nevertheless, Federal law makes marijuana illegal in all 50 states, and for the government to keep these laws on the books while state after state openly flouts them serves only to make a mockery of the rule of law itself. It is a breakdown in public order — and disorder breeds further disorder.

Consistency and fairness in the law is critically important. We live in an era of tremendous overcriminalization, in which there are so many laws that we can hardly get through the day without breaking a few of them. If the nation’s innumerable laws and administrative regulations were all enforced uniformly, firmly and rigorously, we’d all be in jail. The fact that we aren’t, then, means that your liberty, and mine, hangs merely upon the whim of the government — and, “the government” being an abstraction that has no mind or will of its own, what this really means is that our liberty hangs upon the whim of whoever happens to be running the government. This is an intolerable state of affairs in supposedly free republic under the rule of law, and the only reason we haven’t risen up with torches and pitchforks is that most people have never had the bad luck to run afoul of the system, or to attract the notice of the wrong, powerful, person or agency.

If it were up to me, the Federal laws against marijuana would be struck down, and the matter handed off to the States. The only way this will happen, though, is if Congress feels pressured to make it happen — and that pressure won’t exist if the public doesn’t apply it. The best way to arouse public awareness of a bad law is to enforce it — and so I think Mr. Sessions is doing the right thing, even if he and I would prefer a different outcome.


  1. Jimmy says

    This is all just post hoc rationalisation but I have to say in this anarcho-tyranny of ours I see the state as illegitimate. I may not be prepared to commit terrorist acts against it but I’ll be damned if I’ll obey it’s laws if I can reasonably get away with it.

    Would you obey hate speech laws when they come to America Malcolm?

    I would dodge the draft with better than a clear conscience, with pride. This decadent society deserves nothing from me and the more it’s legitimacy is called into question the better.

    Posted January 9, 2018 at 1:30 am | Permalink
  2. An excellent commentary. Cicero said it as the Republic was dying, “A corrupt state has many laws.”

    Posted January 10, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

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