Everyone in politics seems to have a position on legalizing marijuana, and it doesn’t take too much examination to figure out many of those positions don’t make a lot of sense. While some people argue for legalization and some against, the recent movement of many states to legalize marijuana use not just for medical purposes but also for legal recreational usage. Republicans, Democrats, Statists, and Libertarians all have different points of view on the matter, but what argument for legalization actually holds water?
Federal State, State Government, or Personal Choice?
At the core of many arguments is the question of who you believe should have the authority to make individual and personal decisions on the matter. Republicans talking about legalizing marijuana seem to fall back to state rights. If a state wants to make the decision to make it legal, they should be able to do that. If a state wants to make the decision to make it illegal, they should have that right as well.
The Democratic point of view comes from regulation or movement through agencies like the FDA. Recent studies have shown marijuana isn’t harmful, therefore it should be available. Other things that are bad for you should still be banned, or the government still holds the ability to change their mind if new tests seem to indicate differently.
Someone who believes in the state being right is consistent: the state at the federal level says it is illegal so it should be illegal in all the states. Period, no argument.
There’s a lot of shifting sand in those belief stances. You could argue the Libertarian argument for legalizing marijuana makes the most sense and is the only “absolute argument” that can stand unchanged no matter how many other factors shift around. The Libertarian argument is simple: adults have the right to choose their own actions. If someone wants to drink, they should be allowed to drink. If they want to beat up their bodies running marathons, that is their choice. If they want to smoke marijuana, that is their choice and they should be allowed to make it accordingly.
Pro-Choice Does Not Mean Pro-Marijuana
Let’s make one thing clear: being pro-choice when it comes to marijuana doesn’t mean pro-pot. There are Libertarians who might think it’s a good thing, they may think it’s a bad thing. They might not care if their kids smoke it, they might hate the idea. The point is that it should be a choice. Once you’re an adult a government should not legislate and control your body. You have the right to choose what you do, or don’t want to do, with yourself.
That includes drinking alcohol, that includes what you eat (or don’t), what type of sex your enjoy, or whether or not you do drugs of any kind. In the eyes of a Libertarian point of view the marijuana legalization question really isn’t about the marijuana, it is about having the freedom to make the choice for yourself.