Free the Weed

Memo to Jane Hamsher: I appreciate the effort and all, but the FDA wouldn’t need Diane Feinstein to ban pot or pot brownies.

The fact is: you take down the Drug War, then you take down much of the underlying legal foundation of the regulatory state. If, say, there was a rash of States that legalized marijuana, do you really think the congress, under pressure, is going to repeal the Controlled Substances Act? No. it would simply result in a new law that would amend the various maze of other laws that would take pot out Schedule I classification and put it under the purview of the FDA. Unlike alcohol, where the federal jurisdiction lies mostly with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau under the Treasury Department, but who works in conjunction with the FDA–the FDA having the authority to regulate alcohol if it’s mixed with any other food stuff or medicine–in the case, of pot, it would be under the complete jurisdiction of the FDA who, in this case, would work in conjunction with the DEA under the Justice Department. The FDA could outright ban it. It would certainly ban pot brownies.

There is absolutely no case to be made for the “regulation” of pot. As a former pot smoker, I can attest to the fact that the market works quite “regularly,” thank you. I’m all for “drug legalization” efforts using political channels, but I’m not exactly down with the “legalize it so we can regulate it and tax it” mojo.

Hamsher marks a bit of a departure for progressives. While many progressives have criticized the drug war, outright organizational activism on the topic hitherto has been a domain primarily occupied the libertarians. While I certainly welcome progressives to the battle, you can excuse me if I’m a bit cautious about “progressive reform.” I’m not particularly interested in replacing the DEA with a “FDA, Bristol Myers Squibb, DEA” triumvirate. That may not be Hamsher’s intention, but that’s what would happen.


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