Marijuana and the youth vote

Few issues embody liberals’ disconnect with reality like marijuana. Just beyond its legalization, they rationalize, lie revenue windfalls for ailing public budgets, security for Mexico, and uncrowded prisons. In other words, there’s a pot of gold at the end of the pot rainbow.

Liberal hippies and their support systems (ACLU, NAACP, George Soros, etc.) placed marijuana’s legalization before California voters last month. Proposition 19 failed by a hefty 8 percentage points. A full 54% passed on the joints. Only San Francisco supported the referendum and, even there, the margin was slim.

Some Democrats had hinted at using the marijuana referendum strategy to bring young voters out in battleground states in 2012. The California result exposes a dilemma: How do you motivate people to get out to vote for a substance that makes them inherently unmotivated?

If only lethargy and lackluster academic performance were the extent of the drug’s negative effects. Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health cite a variety of other possible ills: balance and coordination impairment, memory loss, acute psychosis, bronchitis, lung cancer and prenatal problems.

For all the comparisons pot proponents make to the freeing of alcohol from puritanical prohibition in the 1920s, they don’t regularly remember that society pays a significant price in exchange for the sin taxes it collects. The costs, both tangible and intangible, of alcohol-related accidents and incidents are not negligible. They wouldn’t be for legalized marijuana either.

It is ironic that liberals’ distaste for Big Tobacco coincides with their belief in little weed. Tabooed cigarette smoking is being relegated to the fringes of society, as perhaps it should be.

But why don’t freedom-loving, weed-endorsing liberals stand up for Joe Bar Owner’s right to permit tobacco smoking in his own establishment? (Many municipalities have outlawed smoking in privately owned, commercial places.)

And does anyone really think that criminal pot pushers will see the light at legalization and begin reporting income and paying taxes like lifelong saints?

Convicted drug trafficker George Jung reflected on his career this way: “Was it the fact that I had the courage to be bad or that millions of Americans did not have the courage to be good?”

Without doubt, a part of each of us lacks the courage to “be good.” For this reason, reasonable laws can help support us when our courage wanes. They can legitimately deter us from indulging our addictive and detrimental tendencies. There is no shame or backwardness in keeping such laws on the books.

As a general rule, we need less addictive behavior in the world, not more. If a red X reminds some people that weed leads to a less healthy, less prosperous life, by all means, let’s keep it there.

And if pushing pot is the Democrats’ best idea for inspiring young voters to patriotic action, Republicans are well-positioned to engage the demographic with more thoughtful and beneficial policy solutions.

1 Response to “Marijuana and the youth vote”

  1. 1 Bennye Waskom December 4, 2010 at 16:01

    Kevin, I could not agree more to your well written, thoughtful commentary. Keep up the good work. B

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