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I often observe conservatives (particularly of the “social conservative” strain) charging into the drug legalization battles.  It’s a common position in my circles of influence that drugs should be illegal all over the country, and that our national anti-drug regime should be maintained as such.  I’ve had brief debates with some of them about this issue, and I tend to be more mellow about this particular one than I usually am because I’m simply less worked up about it.  However, I’m not necessarily an advocate of “legalization” as some would understand it.  I’ve tried to express my thinking here in a way that clarifies the nuance without demonizing either side.

I can’t help but think that we’re so caught up in the emotion and debate over whether or not pot is bad that we aren’t seeing the forest for the trees: the debate that conservatives should be having isn’t whether or not pot is bad and who gets to decide how bad and what the moral imposition upon the people should be. The debate for us to be having, at a national scale, is by what right is the federal government telling us all how to live? That is a question that conservatives should be able to answer with unity.

I have absolutely no quarrel with those saying that pot is so bad that it must be illegal. Ok, fine. If the people of Illinois or Virginia or Florida want to proscribe pot consumption and possession and expend the resources enough to enforce the law – if it’s that important to them – then you’ll hear no complaint from me. I’m involved in the lives of people who have been utterly destroyed by drugs and all kinds of other habits and hangups (through a Christian ministry called Celebrate Recovery), and I totally get how bad they are, and how good it would be for many people if it were simply outlawed. I get it. However, it’s simply not in the federal government’s purview to do that. The feds can rightly police interstate trafficking and import/export rules, but the remainder of the anti-drug regime in this country should be left to the states in its entirety. Period, full stop.

Many states would then outlaw pot (and various other drugs). Others would entertain a greater level of licentiousness. The laws wouldn’t be the same in every state, and each would have to deal with the consequences of their decisions. And peace would reign throughout the land, and we could stop spending so much money on powerful federal agencies that fight an endless “war on drugs” (not to mention the added benefit of taking away a potential crisis for convenient use by nascent liberal fascists!).

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