« Report from Council of State Governments indicates reduced recidivism in many states | Main | How might we define, assess and analyze judicial sentencing wisdom? »

September 25, 2012

Prominent conservative Tom Tancredo supporting marijuana legalization initiative in Colorado

The Huffington Post via this new entry headlined "Tom Tancredo Backs Legal Weed: 'Marijuana Prohibition Has Failed Us'," has alerted me to another prominent conservative voice speaking out in support of state marijuana reform efforts. Tom Tancredo is a former Republican congressman who is now endorsing Colorado's ballot initiative to legalize marijuana.  Here is part of his explanation why in this commentary appearing in the Colorado Springs Gazzette:

Exactly 80 years ago, the people of this great state passed a ballot initiative declaring an end to the misguided big-government policy experiment that was alcohol prohibition.  One year later, the federal government followed.

This November, the voters of Colorado have the opportunity to repeat history.  On the ballot is Amendment 64, an initiative that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and regulate the production and sale of the substance.

In many ways, marijuana prohibition is very similar to alcohol prohibition.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in their impact on public safety.

In the 1920s, alcohol prohibition led to the widespread proliferation of violent criminal organizations who corrupted politicians and law enforcement officials to illegally peddle booze to otherwise law-abiding citizens.  Similarly, by keeping marijuana illegal for the last 75 years, we have created a black market that helps fuel some of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world....

I am endorsing Amendment 64 not despite my conservative beliefs, but because of them. Throughout my career in public policy and in public office, I have fought to reform or eliminate wasteful and ineffective government programs.  There is no government program or policy I can think of that has failed in such a unique way as marijuana prohibition.

Our nation is spending tens of billions of dollars annually in an attempt to prohibit adults from using a substance objectively less harmful than alcohol.  Yet marijuana is still widely available in our society.  We are not preventing its use; we are merely ensuring that all of the profits from the sale of marijuana (outside the medical marijuana system) flow to the criminal underground.

Regardless of what ultimately happens on the federal level, we have an opportunity to stop pouring money into a failed system in Colorado.  According to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, we current spend anywhere from $25 to $40 million dollars per year arresting, citing, processing, and prosecuting marijuana offenders throughout the state.  A recent report from the Colorado Center on Law and Policy found that savings achieved through eliminating these law enforcement costs, combined with increased tax revenues generated from the legal production and sale of marijuana, would net the state $60 million in the first year alone.

In addition to the economic and public safety arguments for ending marijuana prohibition, I also support Amendment 64 for a much broader, philosophical reason.  Marijuana prohibition is perhaps the oldest and most persistent nanny-state law we have in the U.S. We simply cannot afford a government that tries to save people from themselves.  It is not the role of government to try to correct bad behavior, as long as those behaviors are not directly causing physical harm to others....

Across the board, our current system of marijuana prohibition has failed. It has failed to protect our kids from drug dealers pushing other, far more dangerous drugs, it has failed to keep our borders safe, and it has failed to use taxpayer dollars in the most responsible and efficient manner possible.  It is time to try something new. 

September 25, 2012 at 06:36 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e2017ee3c6ded2970d

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Prominent conservative Tom Tancredo supporting marijuana legalization initiative in Colorado:

Comments

"It is time to try something new". Marijuana prohibition has failed and I hope Colorado residents will pass Amendment 64.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 25, 2012 7:37:20 PM

"Similarly, by keeping marijuana illegal for the last 75 years, we have created a black market that helps fuel some of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world...."

NO, NO. I am not a "dangerous terrorist." I am a capitalist--I make money like your Romney--KEEP MARIJUANA ILLEGAL. Please, how else do I keep my haciendas, my beautiful women, my cars? KEEP SENDING ME MONEY, AMERICANS, AND I SEND YOU DOPE. IS GOOD BARGAIN, NO?

Posted by: Pablo Miranda Escobar | Sep 26, 2012 11:03:43 AM

Pablo --

"KEEP SENDING ME MONEY, AMERICANS, AND I SEND YOU DOPE. IS GOOD BARGAIN, NO?"

Not that good a bargain, no. A better bargain would be for us to send you money, and you send us cocaine, no? I mean, cocaine produces a better high for those so inclined and better profits per kilo for you by a fare-thee-well. I don't understand why you want to keep only profit from pot, but have no interest in profit from cocaine (and alien smuggling and a good deal more). It just doesn't seem like you, Pablo.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 26, 2012 1:30:14 PM

Bill says "A better bargain would be for us to send you money, and you send us cocaine, no? "

Bill, mi beueno amigo, como estas??? YES, YES--I also send much cocaine to America--make me very, very rich--i agree with you--cocaine better bargain because make me richer. RICH GRINGOS LOVE COCAINE AND PAY MUCHO DINERO. KEEP COCAINE AND MARIJUANA ILLEGAL. FIGHT LEGALIZATION.

Posted by: Pablo Miranda Escobar | Sep 26, 2012 7:01:25 PM

Pablo --

You're too modest. Why stop with cocaine? Why not Ecstasy, heroin and meth?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 26, 2012 9:38:24 PM

"Why stop with cocaine? Why not Ecstasy, heroin and meth? "

Bill, mi bueno amigo, good idea but I cannot do so much too fast--not good business sense--mis amigos sell heroin AND METH and are very fat and rich and also have beautiful women-LIKE ME- but for now marijuana and cocaine are enough--you gringos are very strange: you make illegal what everyone wants--you no learn from, how you say, PROHIBITION? BUT KEEP DRUGS ILLEGAL--BILL WE ARE ALLIES!!

Posted by: Pablo Miranda Escobar | Sep 27, 2012 10:47:55 AM

Pablo --

As I say, Pablo, you're too modest. I'm sure you can handle supplying us "gringos" with all the meth, heroin, LSD, the whole nine yards. As you so trenchantly observe, we "make illegal what everyone wants." Obviously, the way to a healthier, stronger America is to remove all legal barriers to drug use. Then we can sit around and get as blasted as all get out. It's "what everyone wants."

I have to give you credit. A lot of folks say, hey, we'll stop with legalizing dope, but you come right out and say what they won't, to wit, that once that happens, it's the opening gun to legalizing everything.

You might kill people by the dozen (or is it by the hundreds?), but your candor does you proud.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 27, 2012 1:23:25 PM

@Pablo
Perpetuating stereotypes and being an annoying troll is not helping.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Sep 27, 2012 9:51:16 PM

Pablo may be an annoying troll, but he does make his annoying point; The keep-marijana-illegal crowd makes for strange bedfellows.

Posted by: anon14 | Sep 28, 2012 4:10:05 PM

People get to it anywway so what's the point of prohibition? Anyway, may I just add that this exchange between Bill and Pablo is quite interesting. It's kinda funny.

Posted by: Dianne Weiss | Sep 28, 2012 7:05:00 PM

Prominent conservative Tom Tancredo supporting marijuana legalization initiative in Colorado

Posted by: Wholesale Snapback Hats | Nov 28, 2012 10:13:31 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB