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February 2012
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Go Howard!

Cowboy Cop Makes the Conservative Case for Marijuana Legalization at CPAC

“The reactions have been almost 100 pecent in favor of what I’m doing,” Wooldridge, who claims he hasn’t smoked marijuana in thirty years, tells me. “I’ve had about three people in the last two days out of about 200 who do not like it.” Particularly with this conservative crowd, Wooldridge debates his naysayers in terms of conservative principles. “Personal freedom, personal responsibility, and limited government are what conservatives believe in,” he says. “And that’s what I believe in. And thats what we should do with marijuana policy. I say, ‘Give me a conservative reason to keep it going,’ and they dont have any.”

Howard is a powerful force. His ubiquitous cowboy hat and “Cops say legalize” shirt make a statement everywhere he goes, but he also knows how to make a statement himself that resonates with the listener.

This is something that I have taught in my elevator argument workshops. I was thrilled to have Howard attend one of them, but, of course, he’s been doing this kind of thing for much longer.

It’s about making a quick argument that cuts right to the interests of the person listening and not getting bogged down with arguments that are irrelevant to, or distract from, that single purpose.

We all can take a little bit of Howard and apply it to our activism.

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5 comments to Go Howard!

  • thelbert huffman

    reminds me of the story of ezekiel in the valley of the dry bones. hope he can put some reason into the bone heads.

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  • Francis

    I think the “conservative” argument is very, very important. Here’s my “conservative” anti-prohibition “boilerplate” in case anyone’s interested:

    More “conservatives” need to wake up to the fact is that there’s nothing conservative about cannabis prohibition. Conservatives are supposed to believe in principles like limited government, individual liberty, respect for the 10th Amendment, opposition to the nanny-state, and ending hugely-expensive government programs with a proven track record of failure. It’s pretty hard to square any of those with support for the war on (some) drugs. It’s painfully clear that most “conservative” opposition to drug policy reform stems from the misguided belief that this is a “liberal” issue (and should therefore be reflexively opposed). It’s not. The war on (some) drugs has been a bipartisan disaster. There’s also an extremely tired “culture war” aspect to conservative opposition. “But only ‘hippies’ and leftists like pot.” Um… no, that’s simply not true. And even if cannabis (or any other drug) is disproportionately enjoyed by “liberals,” THAT’S NOT A PRINCIPLED REASON FOR CRIMINALIZING IT! Opponents of reform like to say that “marijuana isn’t harmless.” Of course, very few things in this world are. But that’s not the question. The question is not even whether the benefits of cannabis outweigh its risks. The question is who decides in a free society: adult citizens for themselves or politicians for all of us? The question is should we continue to spend billions we don’t have (and forego billions more in lost tax revenue) on an unwinnable and increasingly unpopular war, a war that only empowers and enriches organized crime, fuels gang violence, promotes official corruption, undermines respect for the law, turns millions of ordinary Americans into “criminals,” and poisons police / community relations? The question is should we be sending men with guns to arrest our fellow citizens and lock them in cages for the “crime” of possessing a plant (or engaging in consensual exchanges for its sale)? This madness can’t end soon enough.

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  • thelbert huffman

    it’s persuasive arguments like that make me believe we get some relief at the polls this year even though i don’t have much trust in machine voting we need start demanding paper ballots. i see this site as a kernel of truth that is infecting the fabric of lies the oligarchs have woven. people are reading this and soaking it up, and passing it on. we may not hear from them because when you read something from francis or malcolm or the captain what more can you add. there’s a lot eloquence floating around here. it’s spreading. you can hear it in their voices when they say: but, they’ll be driving with impaired blood. people will die. that’s lame. look at the ten o’clock news and you see drunk drivers plowing into houses almost killing kids that happen to sit on the dangerous side of the living room. her dad might die. this happened a day or two ago in san diego. pretty rare to see a stoner driving so bad that it gets on the news. and you know if it was happening you’d never hear the end of it.

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  • vickyvampire

    I’m surprised they even let him in the door. I’m disgusted with some of the Anti-gay remarks at C-pac a trans friend showed a link they had some speaker that sounded like KKK group.Others there made remarks against gays Yeah they love Santorum YUK. I hope Howard can reach out to some of the GOP dim-bulbs.

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