'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, March 01, 2004

A Reason to Like Kerry

As someone who's not real excited about Kerry I found this post from Al Giordano's Big, Left, Outside encouraging. The gist of it is that although, for obvious political reasons, Kerry denies supporting full decriminalization of marijuana, it's clear he has a reasonable view on how the nation should deal with drugs and drug users. Here's Kerry responding to the question directly to Rolling Stone:

JK: I've met plenty of people in my lifetime who've used marijuana and who I would not qualify as serious addicts -- who use about the same amount as some people drink beer or wine or have a cocktail. I don't get too excited by any of that.

RS: Would you favor decriminalization?

JK: No, not quite. What we did in the prosecutor's office was have a sort of unspoken approach to marijuana that was almost effectively decriminalization. We just didn't bother with small-time use. It doesn't rise to the level of nuisance, even. And what we were after was people dealing with heroin and destroying lives, and people who were killing people. That's where you need to focus.

Giordano's position is that the left needs to get over it's all or nothing attitude and get excited about a probable Dem candidate who's comparing the use of small amounts of marijuana to drinking beer:

Now, what's the real story? Are some marijuana reform activists or hemp protagonists gonna miss being demonized and persecuted so much that they can't get excited about that? Or have they grown addicted not to a non-addictive plant, but, rather, to what they fantasize is their "cool" outlaw status so much that, deep down inside, they don't want the big change to come?

Many obviously would rather end a lifetime of persecution and toke from a pipe that is half full. But I have my doubts about some of them.

It's a valid question ... but I think Giordano is being a little harsh. Kerry, doesn't view pot smokers as criminals, fine -- but how much will he be willing to rock the boat? At the very least, if Kerry isn't a complete hypocrite (and given your average politician, who knows?), a Kerry presidency should be the end of Operation Pipe Dreams-style policing in which people (like Tommy Chong) end up in jail or hit with big fines for selling paraphenalia.

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