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Inconvenient Truths: Marijuana Criminalization Based on Racism and Crony Capitalism

Posted on June 21 2010 7:00 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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In spite of Calvin’s attempt to link Lockean philosophy with prohibitionist impulses the fact is that for most of American history the need to use the federal government to try and create a drug free utopia was an alien notion.

There were 2 principle forces that drove the criminalization of marijuana in the late 1930s:

1. Racist sentiments against the Mexican immigrants who were the principle users of the drug.

2. William Randolph Hearst wanting to crush the hemp business.

Do those who argue that we should continue to spend billions of dollars per year on this never-ending utopian project have any idea of this history? Probably not. Do they care? Doubtful. This discussion is about the same thing as all other “social issue” debates: culture. Those who support drug criminalization are culturally and religiously opposed to drug use. Yet they’ll likely claim that there’s no connection between their cultural values and their political choices. No, they’re just doing what’s logical. It’s just a correlation that they’re embracing politics to promote their culture, not causation. OK. I guess I can just suspend my disbelief on that claim again.

Last December I had a debate with Mary Grabar about this and she confessed that her main reason for supporting the continued waste of our tax dollars on this jihad was her hatred of the counterculture. She acknowledged — as Palin did — that adults smoking joints in the comfort of their own home was not something that should be fought. I wish all of the drug war’s advocates could be so frank and drop the charade. But that won’t happen because as soon as it does the criminalization argument collapses.

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