January 6, 2014

There is no possible public good that can be derived from passing laws that legalize marijuana use, and Republicans should say so. With recently passed legalization laws going into effect in Colorado, and reports that New York is planning on loosening its marijuana laws, the best we can hope for is that these laws are written in a way that will protect the innocent as much as possible.  Soon we’ll be seeing the first reports of crime resulting from the marijuana business — the DUIs, problems with underage access, etc. These are already problems associated with alcohol. Without question, we will face more human tragedy and ruined lives as a result of marijuana legalization.

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 1: Tyler Williams of Blanchester, Ohio selects marijuana strains to purchase at the 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary on January 1, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Legalization of recreational marijuana sales in the state went into effect at 8am this morning. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images) Tyler Williams of Blanchester, Ohio, selects marijuana strains to purchase at the 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary on Jan. 1.(Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)

It’s not good policy to facilitate the opportunity for more inebriated people to wander among us.  Legalizing marijuana is just not a good idea.  Even my friend Ruth Marcus at The Post, who is not exactly a conservative commentator, said that “widespread legalization is a bad idea,” particularly because of the known negative impact smoking marijuana can have on adolescents and their development.  She cited a 2012 study that found that “persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline broadly across domains of functioning.”

Republicans need to be clear on where they stand on this issue. We shouldn’t think up reasons to do the wrong thing to try to look hip or appeal to reckless youth. If the Democrats think they have found an issue for 2014, let them be the ones to promise more pot to the population.  And spare me the talk about personal freedom being at stake here.  You aren’t more free if you are a pothead and freedom isn’t measured by marijuana consumption.

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.
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