Thursday, July 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Is the legalization of marijuana inevitable?

First, 20 states and the District of Columbia passed laws legalizing marijuana for medical use. Then in 2012, voters in Washington state and Colorado approved measures legalizing the sale and possession of marijuana for non-medical use, with state oversight. Now at least a half-dozen states from Alaska to Maine are considering following suit.

Marijuana still remains a federally controlled substance, but Attorney General Eric Holder in January said the U.S. Justice Department would soon issue regulations to let state-sanctioned marijuana businesses have access to banking and credit.

Can full legalization be far behind? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the Red-Blue America columnists, try to wrap their heads around the question.

Ben Boychuk

The University of Colorado system reports a 30 percent increase in applications this year. University officials credit their new and improved application, along with better high school outreach.

But High Times magazine, a sort of Cigar Aficionado for stoners, has a different explanation: It’s the legal pot.

Can that really be true? A CU spokesman told the magazine he has “hard time believing that someone is going to make that kind of significant decision about investing in their education based on whether they can smoke marijuana in the state” – which only suggests he hasn’t visited his Boulder campus recently, or knows very much about the law of unintended consequences.

More kids looking for a cheap and legal high are one such consequence. Here’s another: if you smoke pot and want to buy a gun in the Mile High State, odds are you will be turned down. Sure, marijuana use is legal under state law; but the federal government still considers it a crime, and no federally licensed firearms dealer would risk his business to make a point about states’ rights.

Fact is, Congress isn’t about to legalize pot, and Eric Holder won’t be attorney general forever. More states venturing down the path of legalization invites conflicts with the feds that nobody can foresee.

But the better argument against legalization is cultural, and it comes from an unlikely source: California Gov. Jerry Brown.

A Democrat with a reputation for wild ideas, Brown shared his skepticism about legalization on “Meet the Press” this month. “If there’s advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together.”

Brown is right. It may be the case that public opinion has shifted too far in favor of legalization. If so, then freedom must come with responsibility. Tax marijuana, certainly, but also let employers decide whether they want stoners on their payrolls, lay heavy penalties on sales to minors – and hope the unintended consequences aren’t too dire.

Joel Mathis

Consider the following facts, courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“Every 0.01 hours someone in the United States is arrested for having marijuana; Black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested than white people. The United States spent $3,610,000,000 enforcing marijuana laws in 2010.”

Worth it? Almost certainly not.

Why? Marijuana may be illegal, but it’s also pretty mainstream: A 2013 Gallup poll suggests that 38 percent of Americans have tried marijuana, a number that has little changed since the “Just Say No” reefer madness of the 1980s. And while Ronald Reagan had to withdraw a Supreme Court appointee who admitted smoking pot more than a decade earlier, these days there’s hardly anybody at the forefront of public life who won’t admit having dabbled with doobies in their youth. The republic survives.

There are concerns that legalized pot would somehow rob America of its vigor: “How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?” California Gov. Jerry Brown asks. Brown’s rationale is almost exactly the same as was used for the failed prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s. We never learn.

“I remember in 1977 when Gov. Brown was first in office, we went from indeterminate sentencing to determinate sentencing – we had 20,000 people in our prisons. In 2007, we had 173,000 people in our prisons,” California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom pointed out recently. You start looking at the war on drugs, you look at the corollaries as it relates to mandatory minimums and our aggressive efforts . . . to incarcerate our way to solving this problem, it’s failed. A trillion dollars wasted.”

Criminalizing weed makes hypocrites out of otherwise law-abiding Americans, reduces respect for the law, and saddles our nation with the expense of prosecution and prison for folks who pose very little threat to society. Thank goodness for the legalization movement.

Ben Boychuk (bboychuk@city-journal.org) is associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. Joel Mathis (joelmmathis@gmail.com) is associate editor for Philadelphia Magazine. Website: www.facebook.com/benandjoel. They wrote this for McClatchy-Tribune.

Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensMarch 21, 2014 - 9:26 am

    The government of traitors looks stupid enforcing unenforcable laws. Prohibition only fuels people's hatred of the government of TRAITORS.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

It’s ‘camping for 30′ at the Solano fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Cities dealing with state drought rules

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Muralist helps locals ready for some painted wall history

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rejection makes us each stronger

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
Highway 12 crash sends 2 to hospital

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Mall to host Ultimate Army Throw Down

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Price will seek re-election as Fairfield mayor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Police release name of Vallejo homicide victim

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Dissent quieted with most Israelis behind Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Obama takes tougher line against Gaza casualties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
AP Analysis: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-IRS official called conservatives ‘crazies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Congress cooperates – and fights – as recess nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Crews work to keep Yosemite fire from sequoias

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Clashes prevent experts from reaching bodies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Cruz gets border crisis wrong

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoons: July 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
What happened to the US?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

Am I blaming victims?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11

 
Why ‘compassionate conservatism’ is still dead

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History for July 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I want to change my daughters last name to my maiden name

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Commentary: ‘Orphan Black,’ Emmy snubs and questions of identity

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Contract dispute delays ‘Big Bang’ production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

SF benefits from Pirates’ blunder, ends skid at 6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Complete game shutout lifts Expos to State Tournament win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hammel fails again for Athletics in loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ray Guy’s long wait for Hall of Fame comes to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Lloyd’s film watching impresses 49ers teammates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanford star Ty Montgomery rehabbing shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Greg Ives to crew chief Earnhardt in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene’s No. 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Fairfield-Suisun 6U Bobby Sox win titles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Usain Bolt in controversy at Commonwealth Games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians trade pitcher Masterson to Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Riley speaks out, insists Heat will be competitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Nadal out of 2 tournaments because of right wrist

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US judge slaps $1.3B fine on Bank of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Overhaul approved for troubled California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Louise Scholten

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Ronald Witt Escue Sr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Scott Allen Shaver

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9