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Assembly Plants Seed for Legal Pot in California

Lawmakers consider bill to allow pot for pleasure

The first step to legalize marijuana in California is on a roll.

By JESSICA GREENE (Local NBC - Bay Area)

Lawmakers on Tuesday approved Assembly Bill 390 -- legislation to tax and regulate marijuana. The Assembly's Public Safety Committee voted 4-3 on bill at a hearing in Sacramento. The bill will now be passed to the full Assembly on Friday for consideration.

The bill, authored by San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, would essentially treat pot the same way alcohol is treated under the law and would allow adults over 21 to possess, smoke and grow marijuana.

The law would also call for a fee of $50 per ounce sold and would help fund drug eradication and awareness programs. It could help pull California out of debt, supporters say, raising up to $990 million from the fees.


I'm torn about this. Can you, from an Objectivist's perspective, consider this progress? Is it neutral?

I've been trying to understand the practical political actions that can legitimately work to Rand's articulation of "de-control". I cannot help to think of the possibility of the above as anything but a side-step. Specifically with regard to government CONTROL, this is clearly an effort to be able to control and tax the product for government. So, granted, on the one hand, the legal prohibition of marijuana would be rightfully removed, but (as is always the case with government) it comes with tight strings attached. Some of those strings beyond taxes are even counter-productive (surprise) to its own goals (such as educating people to not use the thing they're about to tax in hope that it helps with their deficit). Nutty.

I don't profess to know whether the outcome of this suggested policy would be more pot users or less. It would allow more free choice to every law abiding citizen, so that is good. However, at the same time, I'm quite aware that individuals currently exercise their right of free choice (regardless of the law) and use pot without harming others and in what is probably a freer market than it will be with this law.

Still, in the end:

"This is the first time in U.S. history any state legislative body has ever considered repealing marijuana prohibition, which has been in place since 1913."

Does anyone know of resources for Ayn Rand's thoughts on what the steps to de-control might look like? This issue seems as good a test case as any.

Edited by freestyle
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Related to topic:


Here's an excerpt from The Comprachicos regarding drugs:

The most damning refutation of the theories of all the hippie-activist-Marcusian

hordes is the drug-glazed eyes of their members. Men who have found the right way

of life do not seek to escape from awareness, to obliterate their consciousness and to

drug themselves out of existence. Drug addiction is the confession of an unbearable

inner state.

Drugs are not an escape from economic or political problems, they are not an escape

from society, but from oneself. They are an escape from the unendurable state of a

living being whose consciousness has been crippled, deformed, mutilated, but not

eliminated, so that its mangled remnants are screaming that he cannot go on

without it.

The phenomenon of an entire generation turning to drugs is such an indictment of

today’s culture—of its basic philosophy and its educational establishment—that no

further evidence is necessary and no lesser causal explanation is possible.

If they had not been trained to believe that belonging to a pack is a moral and

metaphysical necessity, would high-school children risk the physical destruction of

their brains in order to belong to a pot-smoking “in-group”?

If they had not been trained to believe that reason is impotent, would college

students take “mind-expanding” drugs to seek some “higher” means of cognition?

If they had not been trained to believe that reality is an illusion, would young

persons take drugs to reach a “higher” reality that seems to obey their wishes,

except that they are smashed on pavements in attempting to fly out of windows?

If a trained pack of commentators, sharing the same beliefs,. did not glamorize the

obscene epidemic of self-destruction—by means of such estimates as “idealistic,”

“revolutionary, … new life-style,” “new morality,” “drug culture”—would the young

have any cover left to hide their own deep-down knowledge that drug addiction is

nothing but a public confession of personal impotence?

I'd say societal acceptance of drugs is the endgame in the War on Brains.

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I'm torn about this. Can you, from an Objectivist's perspective, consider this progress? Is it neutral?


Do you have any misgivings about canibus being used to alleviate the discomfort and sick stomach that goes with chemo-therapy? Pot or TCP has medical uses. Should the probable outcome that some will abuse TCP be grounds for preventing is proper medical use?

Morphine, which is a controlled substance, is already used for treating patients with intractable pain. So why not legalize TCP? My mother died of cancer and in her last days, she was shot up with morphine to alleviate the pain.

Bob Kolker

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I think it is a step in the right direction. Just because marijuana has some potential for abuse (though I think far less than alcohol, or tobacco) does not in any way shape or form grant legitimacy to prohibition.

A better step would be to legalize it with no taxes or regulations, barring auto/industrial accidents with someone under the influence.

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I'd say societal acceptance of drugs is the endgame in the War on Brains.

There's no war on brains. At least not literally. But there is a war on drugs, and legalizing drugs would end that war. Even if they tax the Hell out of them, it would still end most of the violence, and that would still be a huge improvement over what's going on now.

Obviously, this measure is a very small step in that direction, since it is restricted to one drug in one state. But, when it works out, other states will follow, and I'm confident this obsession America has with using guns to stop voluntary drug use will eventually end.

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  • 1 year later...

Headline on CNN.com reads:

Report: War On Drugs Has Failed

Commission Recommends Legalizing Marijuana, Other Drugs

The global war on drugs has failed, a high-level commission comprised of former presidents, public intellectuals and other leaders studying drug policies concluded in a report released Thursday.

International efforts to crack down on drug producers and consumers and to try to reduce demand have had "devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world," the report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy said.

The commission, which includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, challenges the conventional wisdom about drug markets and drug use.

Among the group's recommendations:

-- End of criminalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but do not harm others

-- Encourage governments to experiment with drug legalization, especially marijuana

-- Offer more harm reduction measures, such as access to syringes

-- Ditch "just say no" and "zero tolerance" policies for youth in favor of other educational efforts.

The theory that increasing law enforcement action would lead to a shrinking drug market has not worked, the report says. To the contrary, illegal drug markets and the organized criminal organizations that traffic them have grown, the group found.

The report comes as countries such as Mexico suffer from widespread drug-related violence. More than 40,000 people have been killed in Mexico in the past four years as rival cartels battle each other over lucrative smuggling corridors and as the army fights the cartels.

The commission's findings add more high-profile voices to a growing movement calling for a radical approach to drugs. Other leaders, such as former Mexican President Vicente Fox, have called for drug legalization as part of a solution to his country's woes.

(from http://www.cnn.com/2...?iref=allsearch)

I really hope this moves us towards legalization in some way or another.

In a laissez-faire capitalist society, drugs would most certainly be legalized, as it violates individual rights of growers, producers, sellers, consumers for them not to produce/buy/sell, as in any other kind of business, exchange in the marketplace.

What I see is the government might get it's hands in it somehow in the economic sphere, instead of just letting dealers, producers go legit and open up their own businesses, which they do already on the black market, but covertly. Not only would that possibly save a shit load of money and SPACE in jails/prisons, courtrooms, reduce crime and expenses/taxation, but it would not violate anyones individual rights. Of course, you do something on drugs, or not on drugs that violates anothers rights, you certainly are not exempt from the law, just liek with, say alcohol or using certain medications and doing things on it that you are not supposed to do, etc. But business is business.

Hopefully the inherent beauty of free market capitalism (http://www.capitalism.org/) will be the viable alternative in the aftermath of the defeat on the War on Drugs.

And I quote from the link:

Are drugs prohibited by government under capitalism?

Since the act of taking drugs does not violate the rights of others, no drug is prohibited under capitalism.

What is the solution to the drug problem?

The solution to the drug problem is not just political, but is primarily philosophical. It is our view of man and reality and the role of reason we must first address, if we wish to solve the drug problem. This requires an educational solution -- and not the creation of irrational drug laws, that criminalize a peaceful activity, creating a black market (anarchist-like) for drugs.

Who is responsible for making underground 'black' drug markets profitable?

[...]the power-seeking bureaucrat needs the pusher as an excuse to expand his police state powers; the pusher needs the bureaucrat to outlaw the legal market, creating a "black market" that only his kind can compete in, since if their were no laws making his wares illegal, he would no longer be able to earn a "black market" profit by dealing in them. (The best historical example of this is prohibition of alcohol at the turn of the Twentieth century).

It is important to note that in a capitalist society there would be no 'black' market for drugs, since the only kind of market that exists in a capitalist society is a free one.

Another article, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iHbxWLdYJNMuFJamFF9nINa3aErw?docId=CNG.8fa875910351b4d56b4f2c3c4f00e20d.b1:

"Arresting and incarcerating tens of millions of these people in recent decades has filled prisons and destroyed lives and families without reducing the availability of illicit drugs or the power of criminal organizations," the report said.

"Replace drug policies and strategies driven by ideology and political convenience with fiscally responsible policies and strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights," it recommended.

Edited by intellectualammo
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  • 4 weeks later...

I've tried several different types of drugs to see what the big deal was and overall I dislike them but that this doesn't mean I am for drug prohibation. On the contrary, I believe people have the rigth to do whatever they want with their bodies.

Anyways these Laws against drugs aren't about what's best for us. Its about the government's will to power. Now they have the right to tell us what we can put in our bodies. Now they have more reasons to break into our homes. The Jail Industry makes more money if there are more people in jail (IE, drug offenders). Drug companies were allowed to take whatever drug they want.

I have a friend who's big brother is some psychiatrist for drug users at a rehad center. I was curious because he had a big house and a couple of nice cars. He also basically told me that drug addicts get free theraphy and medical help if your life is screwed up because of drugs. My thought was, 'what about people who work a 9-5 and who stay clean and live a responsible life styles? Do we get to stay somewhere for free and get free help?'

I don't know what the solution is. But if it was up to me we'd have another french revolution and put EVERYONE responsible for making these types of laws that have cause so much harm and suffering under the blade.

Edited by Strider68
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  • 1 year later...

Very good post, intellectualammo.

In the wake of multiple states allowing medical use, and more recently Colorado & Washington allowing recreational use, it will be interesting to see how the 500lbs gorilla responds. In addition to all your sources, I'd also recommend reading The Emperor Wears No Clothes, by Jack Herer, for a well organized historical account of the politics of hemp. I'm becoming cautiously optimistic that we may be on the verge of some real reform at the Federal level on this issue.


“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

“Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?” ~ Henry Ford, Industrialist

“Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use... Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marihuana.” ~ Jimmy Carter, President


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How have we come or how far have we gone? The misue of firearms leads to injury or death and now we want to ban them. The misuse of drugs leads to injury or death and now want to to legalize them? Is this legalization an admission a war is lost or a tacit acknowledgement that too many are too weak minded to not use drugs? Is it easier to rationalize sloth and depravity rather than put the effort into self control?

The war on poverty has certainly failed to the absurd point where we subsidize it through confiscated income, yet complain at once about people are in poverty. Why are we not dismantling the welfare state in acknowledgment that "war" is lost?

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