July 14, 2014 – The pros and cons of the Colorado law legalizing marijuana are now being debated with furor, especially in the states contemplating similar legislation. The arguments involve the effects of the law on crime, job creation, tax revenues, and the quality of life.
Both sides acknowledge it’s the responsibility of government to deal with these issues. For instance, the evil of the drug war versus the medical benefits of marijuana. I have no special interest in marijuana per se, and see it as a potentially dangerous substance, just as alcohol, tobacco, and all prescription drugs.
The issue should not be tax revenues, jobs, or social behavior. Economic ramification of legalizing choice of any substance should not be a political issue. Non-violent social behavior should never be subject to government regulations. Rather, the issue should be, who makes the decisions that deal with risky behavior? When the government assumes this role of protecting us from ourselves, it’s always done at the expense of liberty.
I see the recent changes in state laws reflecting a healthy challenge to the federal government’s overregulation of personal habits as a victory for modified forms of nullification. Yes, freedom of choices of what we put into our bodies and minds is fraught with danger. But in a free society the individual makes the choices—not the ever-intrusive nanny state politicians. This freedom must be guided by the non-aggression principle, which all law-abiding citizens and all governments should obey.