Reasons to Get High… No Really

Posted by on Nov 21 2012 | Drug Policy, Economics, Polls, Popular Constitutionalism, Popular Culture, PPC, Public Opinion, Regulation, Tenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

There are some good reasons to get high on pot.

The Independence Institute held no position on Amendment 64, legalizing recreational marijuana. And I know not everyone is thrilled about Colorado becoming the Amsterdam of America. But like it or not, it is in our state constitution.

So let me throw out this idea – even if you hate pot being legal, there are some great victories for limited government hidden inside this issue.

First, we finally have a state-rights issue that the Left can, must and will understand and fight to preserve.

Marijuana is still very illegal by federal law, but now it’s protected by our state constitution. I am no legal expert on the U.S. Constitution, but I don’t see anything in it that gives the Feds power over Colorado on this one. But what the hell do I know? I didn’t see anything in it that could let the Feds tax us for not buying health insurance.

Pardon me for stealing this phrase, but, this is a great teachable moment. This is a massive opportunity for those of us who fear the growing central authority in D.C. Some portion of the Left will now agree with us. We need to embrace this challenge and take a lead in educating Coloradans about the Tenth Amendment before the Left tries to pervert it somehow.

In order for those who support pot to keep in legal in Colorado, they MUST embrace the Founders’ ideal of Federalism. And I believe we need to help them understand the power of this simple ideal, and why it applies to a whole lot more than weed.

But if you hate Amendment 64 and wish it smothered out of existence, the only way that can happen now is if you embrace what the Left embraces: federal power trumping the expressed wishes of a sovereign state. Perhaps, like health insurance, the Feds can tax us for not purchasing dope, but they’ll have to pervert the Constitution (again) to override the vote in Colorado.

Here’s the second little prize in Amendment 64. Legalized pot MIGHT force some on the Left to face their hypocrisies, like their confusion on property rights and freedom of association.

In Colorado, it is illegal for an owner of a private establishment to allow tobacco smoking in their bar or restaurant. No one here is free to enjoy a cigar and a steak, or a cigarette and a cup of coffee, in the same place and time. Smokers cannot freely associate with other smokers, enjoying their legal product, in private establishments. Smokers are treated like lepers. My elitist hometown of Boulder is about ready to make smoking outdoors on the Pearl Street Mall illegal. Now that about 65% of Boulder voted for pot, will pot smokers and their business owners be treated like their tobacco-smoking brethren?

Tobacco is taxed at an exorbitant rate, regulated to the point of making it a controlled substance. State cigarette tax windfalls are spent on childhood reading programs and building sidewalks. Will the state heap wild sin taxes on pot and spend that money in ways that have nothing to do it?

I am looking forward to owners and customers of pot businesses opening their eyes (if they can pry their baked eyes open) to how abusive regulation destroys what they are trying to build.

We have a problem getting our message of limited government outside of our own echo chamber. If you doubt that, I’ll remind you of the last election. Well, here’s an uncomfortable opportunity to try something different.

Let’s channel our best Voltaire: I disagree with your decision to legalize pot, but I’ll defend to the death your state’s right to do it.

6 comments for now

6 Responses to “Reasons to Get High… No Really”

  1. [...] Line”)  ”held no position on Amendment 64,” its current president, Jon Caldara, notes. But Caldara argues that, “even if you hate pot being legal,” the measure’s [...]

    22 Nov 2012 at 4:17 pm

  2. ceanf

    you seem to be a fan of federalism, the tenth amendment and limited government. and you like the fact that recent legalization of pot on in colorado allows you to point out the hyprcrises of your political opponents. yet you still support prohibition of pot and other disapproved substances on the federal level, and that makes YOU a a hypocrite. you attempt to make your stance neutral, but your bias still bleeds through (“if they can pry their baked eyes open”). if you truly supported limited government, and everything you espouse to in this article, you would outright support the amendment.

    i urge you to re-read the text of the tenth amendment, and then tell me what amendment in the constitution gives the federal government the power to enforce prohibition on ANY substance. why did alcohol require a constitutional amendment? how do you justify your limited government stance, while you support a huge government apparatus, created to enforce a laws the feds have no true power to create or enforce? the tenth amendment does not mean that states don’t have to codify or enforce any government statue, as you seem to think. rather, its true, and forgotten meaning is that the federal government in not allowed to enact these laws AT ALL. end of story. the federal government is not allowed to wield any power not specifically delegated to it by the constitution. of course that is not reality.

    22 Nov 2012 at 8:26 pm

  3. [...] High… No Really, from Jon Caldara November 23, 2012Take a look Jon Caldara’s post “Reasons to Get High… No Really” where he makes a good case appealing to his base, those who opposed Amendment 64, to [...]

    23 Nov 2012 at 9:29 am

  4. Jon, I especially like your metaphor of an echo chamber where you can solve all the problems of the world to no avail. You should have taken a stand for the legalization of marijuana for the reasons Tom Tancredo provided. But although you say you disagree with the decision to legalize, your arguments against the Left are no less effective, just not comprehensive enough. What about attacking ideology wherever it exists that stands in the way of freedom? The Independent Institute should have taken a position supporting Amendment 64.

    Although you give the Left too much credit for understanding, your first argument is the strongest, “we finally have a state-rights issue that the Left can, must and will understand and fight to preserve.” Your second with regard to tabacco smoking really requires someone to stay in your echo chamber for awhile, “Legalized pot MIGHT force some on the Left to face their hypocrisies, like their confusion on property rights and freedom of association.”

    In addition to states-rights, Amendment 64 goes further “permitting local governments to regulate or prohibit such facilities”. Also, you ask “Will the state heap wild sin taxes on pot and spend that money in ways that have nothing to do it?”, but it’s not clear in your article that indeed the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund.

    I’ve posted several articles, including this comment, on http://libertarianpartyplatform.net where I’ve recently focused the site entirely on this topic. You might also appreciated articles on http://libertarianpartyplatform.org

    see libertarianpartyplatform.net/2012/11/reasons-to-get-high%e2%80%a6-no-really-from-jon-caldara/

    23 Nov 2012 at 9:30 am

  5. [...] who fear the growing central authority in D.C. Some portion of the Left will now agree with us” Caldara jubilantly penned on Nov. 21. “We need to embrace this challenge and take a lead in educating Coloradans about the Tenth [...]

    28 Nov 2012 at 4:43 pm

  6. Dennis A

    I wold rather be judged by twelve opposed to be carried by six.

    A few years ago I was leaving home for work one morning when I was four young boys about 9 to 13 year old walking up my street. They were picking up rocks and throwing them at parked cars.

    I confronted the kids and one of the smaller kids held a big rock up in the air and walked toward my as I sat in the van. I pulled out my cell phone and looked at the kid and let him know I was calling the cops.

    They dropped their rocks and ran. I followed them until they cut across the schoolyard. The cops called me back and asked where they were but did not catch them. I am talking 9-year-old kids probably from Mexico.

    They could have stoned me to death.

    If they thought I had a gun they would have run!
    Luckily the cell phone did the job.

    They are getting more ruthless…
    If guns are outlawed I will get one!

    14 Dec 2012 at 11:25 am

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