A BLOG of PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTIONS & SPECULATIONS

Oppose Marijuana Legalization in Washington

Published on Monday May 3rd, 2010

The ACLU of Washington refuses to endorse I-1068, a Washington state ballot initiative to legalize Marijuana (ACLU statement here), because it doesn’t include provision for regulation and taxation similar to alcohol and tax. Sensible Washington’s reply is something about “complex Federal preemption” which I’m not sure I buy - doesn’t California have the same problem?

The problem is that this initiative is basically a libertarian anti-big government bill. More than just wanting legalization, they also want to send the message “The government has no right to tell me what to do!” Because the truth is, the most effective messaging for a legalization bill is something like “Marijuana smokers are getting off on their vice, doing whatever they like! [Image of stoner stereotype]. Send them a message this November, make them pay their own way, just like gamblers, drinkers and cigarette smokers!” California is sort of doing this, their official advocacy group says ”Control & Tax Cannabis California 2010!”

This is the way to go, but the original authors of California’s medical marijuana initiative are actually protesting this. Jack Herer at HempStalk Festival 2009: “I don’t want to fking give the United States government one fking dollar of taxes.”

Isn’t this type of sentiment ultimately the reason we don’t have a public option in the health care bill? It’s all very well for progressives to castigate centrist Democrats for selling out to corporate interests, but as it turns out, the progressive grass roots (at least among the supporters of marijuana legalization) don’t really believe, as Obama says, that government can be part of the solution. On many issues, progressives turn out to be Reaganites, wanting a government that governs least, and this strikes me as a huge problem. It’s clear that we need more regulation and government action, and we blame conservatives and corporate interests for standing in the way. But maybe we progressives are the ones standing in our own way. If we can’t come up with principled reasons to support government regulation amongst ourselves over our own issues, how can we expect convince anyone else about theirs?

For these reasons, every good progressive should refuse to sign the I-1068 petition, and vote against it if it gets on the ballot.

Colloqium

Readers of this post have also read

February 25th, 2010

Caught in Play

An excerpt from Peter Stromberg's excellent book, Caught in Play: How Entertainment Works On You: I have before me as I write this an insert from my Sunday newspaper. On the cover of this insert, I am informed that it reaches 41.7 million readers each week.  The cover story is a compendium of advice, comprised of pointers from–among others—a natural healing…

Read more →
June 12th, 2010

In our unconscious, in the real of our desire, we are all murderers

Slavoj Žižek in Looking Awry at Popular Culture: The first example that comes to mind is Woman in the Window by Fritz Lang: a lonely professor of psychology is fascinated by the portrait of a female fatale that hangs in the window of a store next to the entrance to his club. After his family has gone away on vacation, he…

Read more →
October 1st, 2010

Have you ever been in love?

Neil Gaiman in The Sandman: Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build u a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt…

Read more →

Recent Popular Posts

February 13th, 2014

Left Activism Goes Corporate

One of the most tedious features of the Silicon Valley Hype Machine is its endless repetition of progressive sounding marketing slogans about democracy and freedom, all while promoting a pro-business agenda. But it's too easy to read this as a sinister corporate ploy to co-opt the language of activists and twisting…

Read more →
December 20th, 2013

Civility: A Distance That
Brings Us Together

Just in time for the holidays, Apple's marketing department released Misunderstood, an ad about a surly teenager absorbed in his iPhone in the midst of scenes of his family's idyllic Christmas togetherness. But he surprises everyone when he reveals that the whole time he was making a touching video for everyone to document their familial bliss, moving them to tears. A…

Read more →
January 26th, 2014

Ten Parenting Lessons
I Learned from Franz Kafka

Here's an adage which I think is true: every theory of parenting is implicitly a theory of society. It follows that even if you aren't a parent now, nor ever intend to be one, if you're interested in society and culture, you ought to be interested in the topic because the problems that we parents face (or believe we face) is…

Read more →