Friday, May 07, 2010

A Separate Peace in the Drug War: It Has Begun

Three years ago, I blogged about a "longstanding policy pipe dream" of mine: that the state of California would declare a separate peace in the drug war.
“Yes,” the argument would go, “California does not have the power to repeal federal laws. But it does have to the power to dispose of its own budget and use its own state and city employees as it sees fit. From this point forward, if the federal government wishes to enforce federal drug laws in California, it will have to do so with federal tax dollars and employees. No state tax dollars or state employees will participate in fighting the drug war.”
And now it looks like it might actually happen, at least with respect to marijuana. In a sense I'm late to this party -- news of the California ballot measure broke over a month ago -- but given the blog post quoted above, I prefer to say I'm three years early.

So why am I blogging about it today? Mainly because of the video of a SWAT team raiding a house and shooting two family dogs, all over an apparently tiny quantity of weed. The video has gone viral now, with most (though sadly not all) viewers voicing anger and outrage. So now is as good a time as any to recommend that if you want to help stop events like this, which happen with sickening frequency, you should contribute to the cause. I just did.

And I'm not just talking to Californians. If marijuana gets legalized in one state without ending the world, that could set the precedent for change nationwide. So help us get it right here. In return, I promise to contribute to the next serious campaign in another state to do the same thing.

(As an aside, I'm irritated by the fact that the name of the campaign is "Control & Tax Cannabis." That's kind of burying the lead. But make no mistake, this is really about legalization.)

1 comment:

Alex said...

Legalization is important, in good part, because it allows effective control and taxation (as for other legal drugs, e.g. tobacco and alcohol). Reducing the costs (both direct and in "side effect" damage, e.g. to family dogs) of prohibition enforcement is also very useful, but I disagree that the proposition's name is badly chosen.