Pot Legalization Is a “Big Mistake” Only If You Ignore the Value of Freedom and the Injustice of Prohibition

Source: Reason
by Jacob Sullum

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat thinks ‘legalizing marijuana is a big mistake.’ His argument, which draws heavily on a longer Substack essay by the Manhattan Institute’s Charles Fain Lehman, is unabashedly consequentialist, purporting to weigh the collective benefits of repealing prohibition against the costs. It therefore will not persuade anyone who believes, as a matter of principle, that people should be free to decide for themselves what goes into their bodies. … Respect for individual autonomy, of course, has always entailed the risk that people will make bad choices. That is true of everything that people enjoy, whether it’s alcohol, marijuana, social media, video games, gambling, shopping, sex, eating, or exercise.” (05/18/23)