Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics

Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics

Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics

Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics

Synopsis

Highlights the failures of the government's war on marijuana, likening it to 1920s-style prohibition politics, and points to the need for citizen initiatives to change drug policy.

Excerpt

Pot causes insanity—not in its users but in politicians.

Anonymous

“The abuse of tea has taken on the characteristics of a plague—it is not only confined to men but has even spread to women and children. The situation is becoming very dangerous. Tea abuse … takes the form of an imperious and irresistible craving.” This was the reaction of a Tunisian physician in the 1930s, horrified by the British habit of afternoon tea being adopted in his country.

This book is about a similar horror—our politicians’ addiction to the war on drugs and particularly to marijuana that, as of 2004, costs the average American $380 per person per year to wage. While these pages focus on the war against marijuana, their thesis addresses its ramifications for political science, particularly its implications for how to govern well. This war against drugs and marijuana in particular rests on governmental exaggerations no less far-fetched than the Tunisian doctor’s misguided alarms about a habitual afternoon cup of English tea.

Lest readers view this topic only as a selfish herbal indulgence, these pages have germinated not in a private marijuana garden but from twentytwo years of judging on the trial and appellate courts of Arizona. Our courts both in Arizona and throughout the nation continue to witness the financial and human boomerang involved in prosecuting people for marijuana use. In the process, they witness how government policy alienates its own citizens by teaching counterproductive lessons about how to govern.

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