… is from page 237 of (now GMU Law Dean) Daniel D. Polsby, “Regulation of Foods and Drugs and Libertarian Ideals: Perspectives of a Fellow-Traveler,” Social Philosophy & Policy (1998), Vol. 15:
The “externalities” case for regulating marijuana and hallucinogenics such as LSD, as near as I can make out, seems to involve the claim that they are, in effect, a solvent of republican virtue – that a self-governing nation cannot be a nation of pot- or acid-heads. Though there is surely a great deal of truth in this claim, such harms are far too marginal, and the embedded concept of public good far too general and unbounded, to support any serious regulatory effort beyond keeping the ingestion of these drugs out of public places; certainly the potential harms associated with these drugs do not justify their management by criminal law. Republican democracy beats out its competition only if one does not insist on brutal coercions aimed at ensuring that everyone will be mentally competent to participate.