I am personally on the record as agreeing with this sentiment. Legalization of cannabis nationally and then the state to state regulation of pot is the Constitutional position. It is the limited government position. There should be no federal prohibition of marijuana.
However some people who call themselves “conservatives,” who will swear up and down that they are for “small government,” also support one of the worst examples of big government and unconstitutional regulatory adventurism there has ever been, the so called War on Drugs. This makes no sense. In fact the 2 positions are not compatible.
I suppose one could be a social conservative who likes government programs, someone like Rick Santorum for instance, and be for the drug war. But to be a small government person one must be for at the very least marijuana legalization. The government wastes billions and billions every year chasing after this plant. Prohibition also creates an underground market which is exploited by organized crime. It’s terrible policy.
But people fear drugs. They fear their kids becoming addicted to drugs. I have children. I fear it too and such issues I do not take lightly. However the drug war is so bad, wastes so much money, creates so much crime, marginalizes so many people, creates so much cronyism, and is such an obvious violation of the spirit of our Constitution it seems to me that the only conscionable thing for someone who truly believes in limited government to do is to oppose it.
In fact, Colorado’s experiment with marijuana legalization is widely viewed as a success. Virtually all of the harmful side effects some have claimed come from data that predates legal retail marijuana sales or captures only a short time period of legalization.
But even if you don’t like the policy, it has been implemented in a conservative way. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to drug policy, Colorado’s legalization employs federalism. The legalization has happened in only one state and other states can reach their own conclusions about the results.