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Profiles In Prohibition: The Progressives


Article by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and author of What Explains The Popularity Of Cannabidiol?

Everyone knows that Liberals and Progressives are opposed to marijuana prohibition, and Conservatives are in favor of it. Nope. 


Actually, the Federal Marijuana Tax Act was signed into law in 1937 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and until very recently “Progressives” like Senator Diane Feinstein, former mayor of “Liberal” San Francisco, who opposed marijuana legalization until 2018.


See Feinstein, facing primary, backs legal weed in California


Of course, both Biden and Harris, and Clinton and Obama were prohibitionists until they weren’t. Now Progressives are all in favor of legalization because they have been shocked, shocked to discover that marijuana prohibition was racist!  Now they want to tax marijuana users and limit licensing for marijuana retailers so they can give “reparations” to the minorities who were victims of the laws that they just discovered were racist. D’Oh!


Even more disturbing, marijuana prohibition is still supported by much of the African American clergy. 


See Don’t Mention The Drug War. We Must Decriminalize Being Black Because Black Freedom Matters


And Don't Mention the Drug War! America's Elite Would Rather Follow Mobs Than Lead the People


Okay, but many Conservatives are certainly in favor of marijuana prohibition, and some of the dumbest really think that it is a Conservative position, despite Roosevelt and Feinstein et al. However, the late William F. Buckley Jr., the father of modern Conservatism, came out against it decades ago.


See The Conservative Case for Legalizing Marijuana


Milton Friedman was also opposed to marijuana prohibition.


See Milton Friedman interview from 1991 on America’s War on Drugs


The great Austrian free market economist,  Ludwig von Miseswrote, "For if the majority of citizens is, in principle, conceded the right to impose its way of life upon a minority, it is impossible to stop at prohibitions against indulgence in alcohol, morphine, cocaine, and similar poisons. Why should not what is valid for these poisons be valid also for nicotine, caffeine, and the like? Why should not the state generally prescribe which foods may be indulged in and which must be avoided because they are injurious?….We see that as soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching on the individual's mode of life, we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest detail. The personal freedom of the individual is abrogated. He becomes a slave of the community, bound to obey the dictates of the majority.” 




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