Sunday, May 02, 2021

NM fumbled on legal marijuana

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for April 7, 2021)

Leave it to government to fumble a chance to do the right thing.

New Mexico has finally decided to legalize Cannabis. This could have been a win for liberty, but they did it wrong. Instead of letting the market handle it, as they should have, they wanted to get their fingers in as deep as possible.

It's good when a government backs off on violating natural human rights, but the state never had the right to criminalize or control Cannabis to begin with. Neither did the federal government, since no constitutional amendment was ever ratified to give them this power.

Cannabis should only be as controlled as parsley; neither should be controlled at all. Plants-- and who grows, sells, possesses, or consumes them-- are not government's business. Quality issues and fraud are the business of the market, and that's where this should be handled.

This change is driven by a hunger for more money rather than any new respect for human rights. Greedy governments get excited over any new source of money. Taxing Cannabis, or anything else, is wrong because taxation is always theft. I don't want Cannabis taxes to help pay for more government-- we already have far more government than any civilized society would put up with.

Like other states which legalized marijuana, New Mexico's government is sneaky. They legalized the plant while setting so many traps with new rules that the chances of committing a crime under the new system will increase. Marijuana will be "legal"-- if you dot all the "i"s, cross all the "t"s, jump through every arbitrary hoop, and hold your mouth just right while hopping on one foot.

In other states where similar plans have been put in place, people have noticed it was less legally risky to use Cannabis before it was legalized, regulated, and taxed.

On the prohibitionist side, there's the fear of more impaired drivers on the road. A reasonable fear, but unnecessary.

If you harm someone's person or property in an accident it doesn't matter if it was because you were drunk or stoned, sleepy, texting, or speeding to the scene of an accident. The responsibility is still completely yours. No regulation is needed to make you extra responsible.

I wish, instead of finding new ways to have more control, government could keep its hands off our lives for a change. This was a chance to lead the way, and it was squandered on politics.


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