William F. Buckley, Jr. died today at the age of 82. You may have loved him or hated him, but one thing is clear — more than anyone else, he made it cool to be a conservative against the drug war.
My first real exposure to his drug war views was this 1996 issue of National Review (I still have my copy). He regularly spoke out for legalization, particularly of marijuana, and will always have a home in the drug policy reform community.
WE ARE speaking of a plague that consumes an estimated $75 billion per year of public money, exacts an estimated $70 billion a year from consumers, is responsible for nearly 50 per cent of the million Americans who are today in jail, occupies an estimated 50 per cent of the trial time of our judiciary, and takes the time of 400,000 policemen — yet a plague for which no cure is at hand, nor in prospect. […]
I leave it at this, that it is outrageous to live in a society whose laws tolerate sending young people to life in prison because they grew, or distributed, a dozen ounces of marijuana. I would hope that the good offices of your vital profession would mobilize at least to protest such excesses of wartime zeal, the legal equivalent of a My Lai massacre. And perhaps proceed to recommend the legalization of the sale of most drugs, except to minors. [link]
I’m in favor of legalization of marijuana not because I’m in favor of people being allowed to do what they want to do but because I think that the war against marijuana is not worth it, that more people are suffering on account of that war than would suffer without it… [link]
The War on Drugs Is Lost…. The cost of the drug war is many times more painful, in all its manifestations, than would be the licensing of drugs combined with an intensive education of non-users and intensive education designed to warn those who experiment with drugs. [link]
post pot ergo propter pot
“One of the problems that the marijuana-reform movement consistently faces is that everyone wants to talk about what marijuana does, but no one ever wants to look at what marijuana prohibition does. Marijuana never kicks down your door in tbe middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows. 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.”