William F. Buckley Jr. was a well-known conservative commentator who authored the political magazine, National Review, (and a couple of leading conservative political books) and hosted the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999. Buckley was world-renowned as a “modern” conservative whose views were popularized by the Reagan administration. If you know your history, then you know that Reagan was a huge champion of the failed war on drugs. So, it’s a little surprising that even Buckley realized the harm caused by that debacle.
In fact, Buckley once said:
Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.
Though we like keeping the quotes in this series pretty lively, it never hurts to have a sobering shock of reality; marijuana prohibition ruins lives and wastes millions of dollars every year. Politics — mostly — has the kept the war on drugs alive. You won’t see the prison lobby or the DEA getting excited when Congress even thinks about rescheduling or decriminalizing marijuana. If Congress won’t lift a finger because it’s bullied by well-funded lobby groups and antiquated politicians mired in reefer madness, then States have to take matters into their own hands (and fast).
So if you are in a state contemplating marijuana legalization or decriminalization, get thee to the voting booths and badger your legislators to champion the cause. Only you hold the power to make Buckley’s quote a memory rather than the status quo. This includes conservatives who recognize that we the people should be deciding whether we use marijuana, not the big arm of Washington D.C.