Paul Armentano wrote a great piece over at Alternet.org about the recent transition of power in Washington D.C. and how they have dealt with marijuana law reform. Needless to say, nothing major (or minor, really) has been done in favor of either decriminalization or legalization for either medicinal or recreational use of cannabis.
The general partisan positions concerning marijuana law is: Liberals in favor of decriminalizing/legalizing marijuana, while Conservatives have been against changing the current drug laws and continuing the costly war on drugs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has recently voiced her support of marijuana law reform, but said that there is work that needs to be done outside of Congress before such action can be taken. Other Democrats have also voiced their support of reform.
Here is my solution to give the Republicans some credibility and show they can reach across the aisle: support marijuana law reform. Why? Well, the war on drugs has been an epic failure. It has cost billions of dollars, imprisoned over 20 million (many of whom are harmless), disproportionally targeted minorities, and has caused many unnecessary deaths. If the Democrats are the ones who eventually rise up and are credited with ending this catastrophe, it would be a huge blow to Conservatives.
Republicans should be jumping all over this issue. Arguments for keeping marijuana illegal are weak to say the least, and there is no denying the fact that government would necessarily shrink if marijuana was legalized. Billions of taxpayer dollars would be saved (imagine how much it has cost us to not only fight the drug war, but to incarcerate over 20 million). If Conservatives are for less government intervention and individual responsibility, would it not make sense to be the loudest proponents of marijuana legalization?