Bootleggers and Baptists – strange bedfellows.

During the time of alcohol prohibition, bootleggers and baptists were both opposed to repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment.  It’s an example of how, “politics makes strange bedfellows.”  Even though the two groups seemed to have completely opposite views about drinking alcohol, they both opposed the repeal of prohibition: The baptists for moral reasons, the bootleggers for financial reasons.
I read the report in The Des Moines Register about how scared the Iowa medical marijuana dispensaries are about losing money once the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois begins next January 1st.  (see link below)  It makes me wonder if Iowa might face a similar situation in the future. The governor and many other politicians oppose efforts to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for moral reasons.  I wonder if Iowa’s legal medical marijuana producers and sellers will oppose efforts to legalize recreational marijuana for financial reasons?
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End racist prohibition.

As The Des Moines Register reported on 10/13/2016, “Black Iowans are seven times more likely to be arrested for drug possession than white Iowans…”  (See link below.)  Drug possession.  A crime without a victim.  Arrests that create a criminal record that seriously negatively affects a person’s ability to get a job.
Even if blacks do possess illegal drugs at a rate seven times more than whites, which I very much doubt, treating possession of any drug as a crime is clearly unfair, if not racist.   Why don’t people get arrested for “possession” if they are caught with a six pack of beer?  Why aren’t people be arrested and charged with “intent to deliver” if they are caught with more than a case of beer?  Why aren’t people charged with a more serious crime if they are caught with high alcohol content distilled spirits, which are surely more dangerous?
We need to end the immoral and impractical drug wars.  The correct and reasonable thing to do is to legalize and regulate the manufacture, sale and use of all drugs, just like alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs.  Just like with alcohol, fair regulations would include protecting our children, and prohibiting driving vehicles while intoxicated.  In any case, we need to end prohibition.
Link to Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2016/10/12/iowa-ranks-2nd-worst-racial-disparities-drug-arrests/91958452/

Our liberties we prize? Our rights we will maintain?

Recent Iowa Polls have found: A majority of Iowans prefer to use the force of government to require fellow citizens to buy gasoline that has ethanol blended into it whether the buyer wants it or not.  A majority of Iowans prefer to treat fellow citizens as criminals if they use drugs that are not favored by the majority, even if such use harms no other person.  A majority of Iowans want to force businesses to pay a minimum wage, even though it means that the least skilled people may not be able to find work.  A majority of Iowans prefer to use the force of government to prohibit vaping in privately owned businesses, even if the owners, customers and employees prefer that it be allowed.  Iowa should change its motto to:  Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain, unless, of course, the current majority disagrees, even if you are a peaceful person and do no harm to others.

Iowa marijuana law makes criminals out of peaceful people.

I was disappointed to learn that, according to the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll,  67% of Iowa adults think is is best to continue to criminalize the personal use of marijuana.  People continue to be imprisoned, fined, and given permanent criminal records because they engaged in a voluntary peaceful activity.   Whether or not to legalize the recreational use of marijuana is not the correct question.  The correct question is whether or not to continue to make criminals out of adults who have done no harm to anyone else.  Many people have been greatly harmed because of our unjust marijuana prohibition laws.   We now have a situation where the remedy is worse than the disease.  The situation clearly conflicts with our state motto: Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.

Racism continues.

The U.S. has made many great advances in the fight against racism since the “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. 50 years ago.   One area where we have failed miserably is the drug wars.  Blacks have been arrested, convicted and incarcerated for non-violent drug related offenses in numbers way out of proportion to their drug use when compared to whites.  To add insult to injury, once a person has been convicted of a drug offense, they are prohibited by law from getting certain federal benefits including  military and other federal employment, federally subsidized student loans and grants, food stamps,  federal housing assistance and more.  Finally, and even more devastating, most employers legally discriminate against anyone who has had a drug conviction.  So, the negative impact on blacks’ ability to get work is again way out of proportion when compared to whites who use drugs.  There is no way that the immoral drug wars would have been allowed to continue this long if the tables had been turned and whites were treated so unfairly.  If you think that you are not racist, then you must support ending the drug wars – unless, of course, you want to wreck the lives of many many more white people by treating them the same as black people.

 

Marijuana is legal.

Marijuana is now legal for recreational purposes in both Colorado and Washington.  It will be regulated like liquor.  This is a great step toward liberty and freedom.  Marijuana is mostly like alcohol, but its use is unjustly discriminated against by government.

What if police burst into your house and found a six pack of beer – and arrested you – and made you attend rehab classes – and your “criminal record” made it much more difficult for you to get a job?  Why is marijuana so different from alcohol?  The voters of two states said it is not that different.

It is a proper role of government to create and enforce regulations to reasonably protect the general safety of citizens.  Driving while intoxicated, whether by alcohol or marijuana, should be a crime.  But if an activity does no harm to others, it is not a proper role of government to prohibit that activity.

The new state laws will likely be tested in the Supreme Court.  I hope the Supreme Court finds it is not a proper role for the federal government to regulate the recreational use of marijuana.  Alcohol and tobacco are mostly regulated by the States.  Marijuana should be no different.