Hennessy's View

The War on Weed Is Over, and Republicans Lost

The Republicans are the Leon Spinks of politics these days.

Remember Leon Spinks? He beat Muhammad Ali. Then he got arrested a bunch, gained a lot of weight, and lost to Ali a few months later. He was pretty much done. And Ali was like 50 when Spinks lost to him.

Spinks had the whole world served up on a plate. He tried to eat it all at once. He choked on it.

The Millennials are the largest generation in American history. Bigger than the Boomers. The first 5 years of Millennials (born about 1982 to about 1987) were dyed-in-the-wool liberals. But succeeding cohorts of Millennials have become increasingly libertarian.

They’re unhappy with Obama. They hate Obamacare. They want jobs. They want something to do. Oh, and they think marijuana prohibition is stupid.

I’ve been opposed to pot prohibition since I was in college in the 1980s. Not (just) because I was smoking a lot of pot. Before that I read William F. Buckley’s views on marijuana prohibition. And I agreed.

After 2006, 2008, and 2012, Republicans knew they had a youth problem. One way to fix that problem was to reframe pot legalization as a jobs program. Had the GOP taken my advice of January 1, 2013, they would have:

  * Created Jobs: [Colorado sold $578 million worth of pot TODAY alone](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-31/pot-shops-in-denver-open-door-to-578-million-in-sales.html)
  * Cut Spending: [The cost of our war on cannabis is $51 _billion_ a year](https://www.drugpolicy.org/wasted-tax-dollars)_

_ * Stopped Hypocrisy:  Kids are looking for a party of freedom, and the war on pot prevents the GOP from seizing that title

In 2014, I hope Republicans and conservatives grow up and face reality. The war on pot is over, and they lost. They can continue fighting it, but they’ll lose every time.

The cannabis business is putting people to work in Colorado and Washington–growers, shop owners, distributors, truckers. Every warehouse in the Denver area is filled as a growing operation, forcing developers to build new warehouse parks. All that industry will bypass states like Missouri, whose population growth was almost zero last year.

So far, Democrats get all the credit for ending the war on week. A tiny handful of Republicans, like Missouri State Rep Paul Curtman, have the foresight to advance this issue. If the rest of his party don’t get on board soon, 2016 could be another disaster for their party and for the country.


Share

comments powered by Disqus