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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Yes or No for Denver Pot Initiative

Legalizing marijuana has been a hot issue for many years. A new law has been put on the ballot to be voted on in November to legalize the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana by people over the age of 21 in the city of Denver.

Why marijuana and other drugs are illegal is a bit of a mystery to me? From a liberty perspective, it is not the role of the government to mandate morals. From an efficiency perspective, standards create or worsen inefficiencies. There is a demand and a supply for drugs and therefore, must be an efficient amount. Zero tolerance is inefficiency. Thus, whatever normative framework is used to justify laws against the use of drugs it is not liberty or efficiency.

From a liberty point of view laws are passed to protect personal property. By passing laws against the use of drugs, the government is taking away a person’s ability to choose for their own bodies. However, I can see government passing laws against it if it could be proven that drugs harm other individuals OTHER than just the individual making the decision to use the drug. I suppose you could say that by a person using illegal drugs they in turn hurt those close to them. However, I believe this to be a far stretch and not worthy of passing laws against it.

This article in the Denver Post shows that the author would like people to vote no against the law, but not because drugs are immoral. He believes that people should vote no because the original laws are bogus and this particular law would accomplish nothing except to add another law to the books. I tend to agree with most of his sentiment except for the fact that I think people should vote yes. A Yes vote is possible to send a message to government that people do not like the current laws against marijuana and they should be eliminated. Taxpayer money should not be wasted to fight against bogus laws. Especially when that fight against drugs doesn’t work.

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