March 24, 2015

"But the Senate Judiciary Committee is emerging as a serious buzz kill for the pro-reform set."

"The powerful panel is stacked with some of the most senior lawmakers in Congress, many of whom came to power during a tough-on-crime era of the drug wars that saw stiffer penalties for drug possession. Several of them openly gripe about what they call the Obama administration’s lack of enforcement of existing federal drug laws — and they certainly aren’t willing to send a signal that Congress is OK with the movement to liberalize pot."

ADDED: In the last couple days, my position on the legalization of marijuana has changed. Oddly enough, it's because of something I read about Ibsen! I don't have the time right now to explain my train of thought, but I can give you the passage — from Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals" — that got me started on it:
There was one aspect of Ibsen’s vanity which verged on the ludicrous... He had a lifelong passion for medals and orders. In fact, he went to embarrassing lengths to get them...

[T]here is ample evidence for Ibsen’s passion since he insisted on displaying his growing galaxy of stars on every possible occasion. As early as 1878 he is reported to have worn all of them, including one like a dog-collar round his neck, at a club dinner. The Swedish painter Georg Pauli came across Ibsen sporting his medals (not the ribbons alone but the actual stars) in a Rome street. At times he seems to have put them on virtually every evening. He defended his practice by saying that, in the presence of ‘younger friends’, it ‘reminds me that I need to keep within certain limits.’ All the same, people who had invited him to dinner were always relieved when he arrived without them, as they attracted smiles and even open laughter as the wine circulated....

33 comments:

BDNYC said...

I gripe about the Obama administration's non-enforcement of drug laws, but I am pro-legalization of marijuana. To me, it's about respect for law and separation of powers.

Unless a law is illegal, the government should enforce it. In fact, under the Constitution the executive is required to "take care" that the law is enforced.

The best way to build opposition to a bad law is to enforce it.

Brando said...

The real efforts of the pro-legalization movement should be focused on the GOP--the younger generation of conservatives tends to be far more in favor of this, and it is difficult to reconcile a "government stop nannystating us" argument with a "make pot illegal because it's bad for you" argument.

Trying to focus on the Democrats--the same people who want to destroy tobacco and seem most agreeable to shutting down fast food restaurants and limiting sugary sodas--seems an odd strategy, and will ultimately bog down. Push the so-called free marketers--see if they care about individual freedom as much as they claim.

Bob said...

> "he went to embarrassing lengths to get them."

The Germans have a word: Ordenshunger.

Sigivald said...

Good thing the States will just tell them to shove off.

And the President (whoever is President, not just Mr. Obama right now) has to deal with the effect of ignoring the States and the manifest popularity of legalization in terms of electoral results on his Party.

(I am, however, much with BDNYC on this in principle - laws should be enforced, especially shoddy ones.

A President who really doesn't like them - as one should not, in this case - should enforce them while asking Congress to get on about repealing or reforming them, and asking Voters to encourage Congress.

The President's proper duty, however, in enforcing the law, is to enforce the law, not to make policy decisions countermanding Congress.

The President gets to make foreign policy, not domestic.)

robother said...

I interested in catching Ann's train of thought. Has she come to view marihuana as a gateway drug to Ordenshunger? Are we headed to a society that looks like the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart Club's Bund? As I recall, after the Beatles, even the more outre Rolling Stones came to seek (and were granted) knighthood.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I don't have the time right now to explain my train of thought...

I'm guessing:

1) You were for legalization
2) You got high
3) You saw that picture of Ibsen and though Man, I'd really like to get laid by someone with facial hair like that!
4) You sobered up.
5) You realized the horrible consequences possible from smoking the devil's weed.

AJ Lynch said...

The best way to build oposition to laws, in general, is to arbitrarily and selectively enforce existing laws.

garage mahal ♤♡♢♧ said...

Jury nullification. The real power of the people.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

I'm reading that book now, but haven't got to Ibsen yet. I started with Hemingway, and am now back to Chapter 1. You are tempting me to skip ahead again.

Toy

n.n said...

It seems that if a pro-choice policy is applied to human rights, then it should be applied to psychoactive drugs, and society should pay for individual and class indulgence through provision of planning, welfare, insurance, etc. Pass the opiates.

MadisonMan said...

It's folly to expect the Government to cede power once it's taken it. How often has that happened, after all? It took a Constitutional Amendment in the 1920s, and even then, the power was only re-defined.

sinz52 said...

In his book "Slouching Toward Gomorrah," Robert Bork explained why he believed that society had kept marijuana illegal. It had nothing to do with perceived medical harm.

Bork correctly pointed out that each drug comes with a social context. Wine is used in religious ceremonies. Cigarette smoking was supposed to be both manly and sophisticated. (Remember the "Marlboro Man" and those fancy cigarette cases and cigarette holders?) Beer is associated with sports.

And marijuana has always been the drug of choice of *youthful rebellion*, particularly left-wing rebellion.

By keeping marijuana illegal, society sends a message that youthful left-wing rebellion is not to be tolerated.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

It's well to consider the Cannabis plant rationally. The female flowers are known to concentrate the psychoactive substances when they fail to get pollinated. But primarily the plant is wind-pollinated. Probably the plant has evolved to release feel-good chemicals to attract pollinators on the rare occasions there is no wind when the plants flower. That is precisely the situation where one might see a plant release something harmfully attractive to pollinators. If the plant harms its pollinators often, then in the long run the species will suffer because there won't be anything to pollinate it. One wouldn't expect evolution to select for that. But it is so rare, presumably, that there is insufficient wind, that the harm to the species and to any individual plant from harming its pollinators is not equal to the gain from getting pollinated when lack of wind could cause mass failure to reproduce of almost all the Cannabis plants, which being annuals, die each year, and thus would not be replaced. One wouldn't expect marijuana chemicals to on balance be beneficial to insects, and thus probably not to humans, either.

Marc Puckett said...

Thank you, Bob, at 1141! I knew there was a word I wanted but I couldn't even remember that it was in German, ha.

gerry said...

Stephen A. Meigs: The pollinator may be harmed, but would the pollinator be prevented from reproducing as a result of the harm?

A more interesting question for me, since I am ignorant of such things, does the substance in cannabis have psychoactive effects upon its pollinators? I mean, I've seen "Spiders on Drugs" (SFW), but do bugs really get buzzed?

EMD said...

By keeping marijuana illegal, society sends a message that youthful left-wing rebellion is not to be tolerated.

I don't really see this in reality.

jameswhy said...

Bork is, surprisingly, wrong. Cannabis was turned into an illegal substance in the late 1920s by a government bureaucrat named Harry Anslinger. Appointed as the first director of the national Bureau of Narcotics, Anslinger followed the lead of his colleague, J. EDdgar Hoover, and spent most of his time trying to generate favorable newspaper coverage of his department.

He quickly learned that stories about drug-addled "others" played big with the media. So he linked opiates with the huge Chinese population around San Francisco, and cannabis with the Mexican migrant workers on the southern border. (He later added African-American musicians as a newsworthy target group.) Anslinger single-handedly created the mythology of cannabis being a dangerous drug, instead of the mild psychotropic substance that's been used by mankind as long as wine.

So it was all an anti-immigrant PR campaign at first. Nothing to do with hippies and counter culture at all.

John Stodder said...

I like Paul Johnson. I like Ibsen. I like legalizing marijuana. I like Ann Althouse.

However, I do not understand the connection. I feel like I've been outrebounded!

Smilin' Jack said...

Several of them openly gripe about what they call the Obama administration’s lack of enforcement of existing federal drug laws — and they certainly aren’t willing to send a signal that Congress is OK with the movement to liberalize pot.


Thank God there are still a few who haven't fallen for that "land of the free" bullshit. F. Scott Key has a lot to answer for.

Ann Althouse said...

@John Stoddard LOL

Here's a clue: freedom and democracy depend on our disinhibition; we need to be able to laugh at authority.

Curious George said...

"Stephen A. Meigs said...
It's well to consider the Cannabis plant rationally. The female flowers are known to concentrate the psychoactive substances when they fail to get pollinated. But primarily the plant is wind-pollinated. Probably the plant has evolved to release feel-good chemicals to attract pollinators on the rare occasions there is no wind when the plants flower. That is precisely the situation where one might see a plant release something harmfully attractive to pollinators. If the plant harms its pollinators often, then in the long run the species will suffer because there won't be anything to pollinate it. One wouldn't expect evolution to select for that. But it is so rare, presumably, that there is insufficient wind, that the harm to the species and to any individual plant from harming its pollinators is not equal to the gain from getting pollinated when lack of wind could cause mass failure to reproduce of almost all the Cannabis plants, which being annuals, die each year, and thus would not be replaced. One wouldn't expect marijuana chemicals to on balance be beneficial to insects, and thus probably not to humans, either."

That's just the weed talkin'

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

"That's just the weed talkin'"

Ha ha ha.

Meade said...

I don't need weed and booze -- I'm high on the real thing: a clean windshield and Curious George's irreverence.

Fernandinande said...

FullMoon said...
And, don't give me statistics out of Colorado. Any reasonable person knows you can't drive worth a damn stoned.


It's good that you don't let yourself get confused by facts.

FullMoon said...

Fernandinande said...

FullMoon said...
And, don't give me statistics out of Colorado. Any reasonable person knows you can't drive worth a damn stoned.

It's good that you don't let yourself get confused by facts.


Yeah, YOU a better driver stoned. In fact YOU better at everything stoned, right? Common sense not so common in your neighbothood.

Michael said...

I am in favor of legalization. The more stoned competitors the better for me and mine. Selfishly hoping for ripped competitors yukking it up over bags of chips and Andy Rooney movies.

David said...

One can't laugh at authority without inhibition reduction? The nincompoops that think widespread pot is a good societal idea are "authorities" and I laugh at them quite easily. It beats felonious assault.

Smilin' Jack said...

Here's a clue: freedom and democracy depend on our disinhibition; we need to be able to laugh at authority.

And the criminalization of pot certainly helps us do that. So you now oppose legalization?

Terry said...

Althouse wrote:
" . . . we need to be able to laugh at authority."
So legalization serves the state?

tim maguire said...

1) If Ibsen got high, then he'd be a little paranoid about how ridiculous he looked.
2) He would have stopped wearing the medals that made him look so ridiculous.
3) People would stop laughing at his ridiculous medals.
4) There would be less disrespect for authority.
5) We would be a less free nation.

Therefore, for the sake of freedom, we must ban pot.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I'm pro-legalization, but

I loathe the stuff, and

I am perfectly able to not take myself or others too seriously without deliberately altering my brain function.

I also think the founding fathers were pretty ballsy about authority figures without getting stoned.

Fun argument, though :)

wildswan said...

I still think pot is a gateway drug but I can see that isn't going to win. However I think that to be consistent we should shut down all the state-sponsored drug rehab units that mysteriously became necessary once pot use became widespread. First, we won't need them once pot is legalized because no one will be addicted and then people won't go on to stronger stuff. Second, people should handle the consequences by themselves - that's the libertarian way.