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William F. Buckley Talks Sense
Sensemillia, that is, and why it should be legal:

Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great. The laws aren't exactly indefensible, because practically nothing is, and the thunderers who tell us to stay the course can always find one man or woman who, having taken marijuana, moved on to severe mental disorder. But that argument, to quote myself, is on the order of saying that every rapist began by masturbating. General rules based on individual victims are unwise. And although there is a perfectly respectable case against using marijuana, the penalties imposed on those who reject that case, or who give way to weakness of resolution, are very difficult to defend. If all our laws were paradigmatic, imagine what we would do to anyone caught lighting a cigarette, or drinking a beer. Or exulting in life in the paradigm committing adultery. Send them all to Guantanamo?

Legal practices should be informed by realities. These are enlightening, in the matter of marijuana. There are approximately 700,000 marijuana-related arrests made very year. Most of these 87 percent involve nothing more than mere possession of small amounts of marijuana. This exercise in scrupulosity costs us $10-15 billion per year in direct expenditures alone. Most transgressors caught using marijuana aren't packed away to jail, but some are, and in Alabama, if you are convicted three times of marijuana possession, they'll lock you up for 15 years to life. Professor Ethan Nadelmann, of the Drug Policy Alliance, writing in National Review, estimates at 100,000 the number of Americans currently behind bars for one or another marijuana offense.

Personallly, if you're going to get a buzz on, I'd rather you had a joint than a gin and tonic -- considering the propensity for some gin and tonic drinkers to get behind the wheel, vs. the propensity for many pot smokers to lie in a bean bag chair gnawing their way through a pan of brownies.

Posted by aalkon at July 6, 2004 8:03 AM


Good points. However do you think the reason more people get beind the wheel drunk rather than stoned is because the population drinks more? Besides, drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) have been identified as factors in 18% of deaths among motor vehicle drivers. Ussualy, these drugs are generally used in combination with alcohol. I don't think the driving argument is such a strong case for legalizing pot. Not that you were asserting that :)

Posted by: Adam at July 7, 2004 12:01 PM

I wonder if Buckley knows where I can get some good shit?

Posted by: Chief Inspector Dreyfuss at July 8, 2004 5:08 PM

Adam -- A couple of years ago I thought I might be teaching a class on substance abuse, so I start doing a lot of reading about drugs. I was surprised that nothing I came across in the scientific literature suggested that marijuana was bad for your health, so I asked a clinical psychologist I know if she knew of anything. Pot doesn't make people violent (like speed does) or incoherent (like booze does), but it seems to reduce motivation. Serious potheads are not productive people. But we don't needs psychologists to tell us that, of course. Lena

Posted by: Lena at July 8, 2004 9:35 PM

Lena, listen to the teenage radio show "Loveline." You'll learn to recognize the "stoner accent" of the pothead callers, and the attendant dissiption of their immortal souls.

PS- My own accent was masked by a halfhearted snort adapted from my first wife's snicker.

Posted by: Crid at July 9, 2004 8:50 PM

About 150 years ago, I had a boyfriend who liked to get stoned and talk about spirituality and human nature. Luckily, he'd usually smoke it lounging around in flannel boxers and a white muscle t-shirt, looking sooooo fine. His name was Stan, and he had an exceptionally lovely foreskin.

Posted by: Lena at July 9, 2004 11:30 PM