Six Liberty Reasons to Vote Against Recreational Marijuana
A raft of myths props up Proposal 18-1, the Michigan ballot initiative for recreational marijuana. Freedom thrives when truth is spoken, so from a health policy nurse, here are the facts about the most common myths in the mitten.
Myth #1: Prop 1 will improve access to medical marijuana and help sick people.
Fact: The most common argument is also the least supported by fact. Proposal language specifically excludes any impact upon medical marijuana, which Michigan legalized in 2008. Informed voters will discount medical arguments as irrelevant to the MI Nov 6, 2018 ballot.
Myth 2: Liberty means doing whatever we want, whenever we want.
Fact: The libertine argument in no way supports liberty. Lacking medical purpose, only escapism and substance abuse remain as reasons for recreational drugs. Freedom to become a pothead is not freedom at all, but self-destruction.
Myth 3: Legalizing marijuana is about liberty.
Fact: Traditionally a leading Libertarian cause, this argument collapses under closer inspection.
Life, liberty, and property rights work together. They fail when any are removed, again proving the self-evident truths of the Founders. There is no liberty to come and go freely, to earn and build and prosper, unless life and property rights are secure.
People in crime-ridden areas of Detroit, for instance, cannot leave their property and assume that it will be intact upon their return. It is common practice for property owners in lawless areas worldwide to install elaborate security or keep a guard on site. Liberty of movement costs them more than it does the rest of us.
As threats escalate, liberty diminishes even more. When violence forces people to remain armed in their own homes, not much is left of freedom and the good life.
In my area, daytime break-in thefts increased as marijuana use rose. Recently, newlyweds died when a marijuana user failed to obey a stop sign. You may be surprised what law enforcement tells you about your own area.
Marijuana freedom collides with the better Libertarian principle that “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.” As a proxy for other rights, it fails utterly.
Myth 4: Prohibition laws always fail. Legalization will save enforcement costs for a law that never stopped marijuana use anyway.
Fact: This argument contains three fallacies. Beginning with the straw man argument: even totalitarian law cannot completely control individual behavior, nor was that ever intended in a free country. What law can and should do is restrain wrong by clearly distinguishing right from wrong, and by using penalties to “keep the lid on” harmful behavior.
Removing the lid from recreational marijuana use through laws like Prop 1 leads to greater violations of life, liberty, and property rights of others. Most obviously, rates of property crimes, motor vehicle crashes, injuries and deaths rose in CO and other states post-legalization. Cartel infiltration, rising law enforcement tax burden, and real estate devaluation are well documented. Youth addiction, permanent mental alteration, and dereliction also increase, robbing parents of their most precious investment.
Myth 5: Legalization supports small government.
Fact: Even if it could reduce the size and cost of government, legalization is not on the menu.
On the contrary, the 6,514-word Prop 1 is a regulator’s dream. It adds another State of MI department office with unlimited staff and budget, creates 8 new licenses and as many regulations as the Licensing and Regulatory Administration (LARA) deems necessary to carry out the law, with repetitions of “the Department shall” giving broad bureaucratic leeway within the lengthy text that Prop 1 adds to MI law.
Prop 1 supporters talk about more liberty for marijuana users and growers, but more regulation doesn’t bring more liberty. You get more rules, fees to pay the rule-makers, “opportunities” to satisfy rule-makers that you’re keeping the rules, and penalties if you don’t keep the rules.
In contrast to the MI Medical Marijuana Law giving local governments final authority, Prop 1 puts LARA in the driver’s seat. This creates two distinct industry standards, but even worse, Prop 1 empowers state bureaucracy and industry at the expense of municipalities and the rights of Michigan’s property owners.
Myth #6: Outlawing marijuana denies God’s natural and perfect created gift with its many health benefits, and gives preference to the unnatural, harmful chemicals from the powerful pharmaceutical industry.
Fact: These half-truths prey upon societal ignorance of healthcare and the biblical narrative.
Biblical creation included every atom and molecule that formed plants, chemicals, and everything else on earth. When man sinned, all creation fell under the curse. Nature can now cause harm. Creation is still useful, but effective use requires discernment, verification, and often the labor of extraction and purification. Its benefits are also limited: eternal life comes only through the Savior.
Pharmaceuticals may be plant, chemical, or cell-based. All, in the sense of being created, are gifts of God. All, being under the curse, have the potential to harm and require judgment to use well.
The pharmaceutical industry has lost public trust in proportion to its departure from directly serving consumer interests. It has developed close political relationships, lobbying heavily for subsidies, regulations, and other financial and market advantages. Regardless of pharmaceutical industry politics in general, however, it has played no obvious role in this ballot question.
But don’t mistake Prop 1 for a grassroots initiative devoid of special interests. Marijuana itself has a $1.47 billion industry lobbying for market advantage.
Prop 1’s full text is available on Ballotpedia. It’s not about health, freedom, tolerance, an underdog, or limited government. It’s just protectionism for another industry.
Vote No on Prop 1.