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Marijuana and Moralism

November 8, 2013
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Andrew Sullivan has an outstanding column based on his appearance with David Frum on CNN to talk about marijuana.

Marijuana and Moralism

I know Ross will differ on the substance, but I doubt he will argue that my support for marriage equality stemmed from mere libertarianism (which would have led me to oppose all such marital benefits for everyone) but from a deep moral sense that we were (and are) violating the dignity of the homosexual person and perpetuating enormous pain for no obvious reason.

Now, the argument for legalizing marijuana is not quite the same. It’s much more based on the simple argument of personal liberty. But it has its moral components as well. The grotesquely disproportionate impact of Prohibition on African-Americans is an affront to any sense of morality and fairness, just as the refusal to research cannabis for its potential medical uses – to prevent seizures in children, for example – seems immoral to me. Some might argue that the right response to this is decriminalization, not legalization. But keeping marijuana illegal profoundly constrains the potential for medical research on it, sustains a growing and increasingly lucrative criminal industry, and does nothing to keep it from the sole cohort for whom it could do harm: teenagers.

Andrew has been a passionate and articulate voice for marijuana law reform for some time. It’s always nice to see him taking on the David Frums and Ross Douthats of the journalism world.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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