It’s kind of sad to see so many of my friends get sucked into the lie that Colorado’s Amendment 64, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” ballot initiative is about constitutionally limited government. The implications of a state like Colorado, and others that have similar initiatives on their 2012 ballots, are broad and deep and if you jump on the Libertarian band wagon and ignore the realities of legalized marijuana, the resulting cultural and economic problems that follow will grow government in ways you can’t even imagine.
First of all, Federal Law is in conflict with state laws that legalize pot. Whether or not you agree with this, the biggest impact will be on the most important role of the Federal Government, and that is to protect and defend our borders and our people. There are stringent prohibitions against drug use in the United States Military, and penalties for breaking the rules are serious. A history of drug use can disqualify a young person from gaining entry into the Military. The Colorado law, if Amendment 64 passes, prohibits the use of pot by minors–but then the law prohibits the use of alcohol by minors. The intellectually honest will agree that the numbers of young people who try the legal substance marijuana will increase, which means those qualified for Military service will decrease. The United States is already facing a numbers crises because some 70% of young people of military age would be automatically disqualified due to educational or moral issues or because they are obese. That small 30% of potential recruits will shrink as more young people are “morally” disqualified because of marijuana.
Through the rhetorical obfuscation of the Libertarian Right and the far Left, one fact stands out like a sore thumb. According to contemporary research, the young people who avoid marijuana and other drugs, do so because it is illegal. The law informs the moral impulses of young people.
Legalizing marijuana has failed in states like Alaska because the costs, economic, cultural, and moral, become too great. Government inevitably grows as the problems of addiction, decreased productivity and crime surge because of increased marijuana use. It’s folly to imagine that young people won’t get hold of the pot intended for older consumers, just like alcohol use among youth has become a rite of passage in America instead of a crime that merits punitive action.
The impact on our Military forces of legalized marijuana is hard to quantify. Outside of the obvious conflict between state and federal laws, the behavior and personal discipline of our military men and women will be endangered. Marijuana is addictive, despite wails from those who claim it’s harmless when used with care–what an exasperating contradiction in terms–and the impact of our warriors using marijuana like alcohol (I mean, after all, its the “regulate marijuana like alcohol” amendment) could be both costly and dangerous. The old cliche’ that compares libertine activities to that of a “drunken sailor” may not be so funny when put into terms of a “stoned sailor.”
Message to limited-government Conservatives in Colorado: Don’t be deceived by Amendment 64 and its supporters–Susan Sarandon and Melissa Etheridge to name two. There is nothing good that will come from the legalization of marijuana, even if it’s regulated like alcohol. Do you see they hypocrisy in actually supporting an amendment that, as a function of its implementation, will require the formation of new regulatory agencies and new taxing powers of the government? Amendment 64 grows government. Amendment 64 shrinks the Military. Amendment 64 diminishes the moral authority of We the People in Colorado.
by Marjorie Haun 10/27/12