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What Were These ‘Czars’ Smoking?

Here’s a letter sent recently to the Los Angeles Times:

Arguing against Proposition 19 – the passage of which would liberalize marijuana laws in California – former U.S. “Drug Czars” Gil Kerlikowske, John Walters, Barry McCaffrey, Lee Brown, Bob Martinez, and William Bennett assert that “No country in the world has legalized marijuana to the extent envisioned by Proposition 19” (“Why California should just say no to Prop. 19,” August 25).

Not true.  Marijuana was perfectly legal throughout the United States until the city of El Paso first outlawed it in 1914, a move that was followed in the same year by national criminalization with the Harrison Act.

The long historical record of legal marijuana and hemp in America – a record dating from the 17th century until the lifetimes of many people still alive today – offers no support for the authors’ contention that liberalized marijuana laws will result in a slew of terrible problems.

Donald J. Boudreaux