Thursday, April 18

Dear Mr. Sullivan,

I do not think think that it has much chance of being published, so here is the text of my response to Andrew Sullivan's response to a reader's letter defending marijuana decriminalization. It makes only a modest point, and was entitled "A Cavil with Your Marijuana Response." You should probably read the original letter to which it refers and Mr. Sullivan's response to it (both available here, scroll down to "So I Asked For It") to understand the point I make.

"While I want to make it clear that I am not taking a contrary position to you on the larger topic of marijuana legalization, your response to the letter defending drug laws falls short in one respect. You protest that the problems with drug legalization in the Netherlands are due to it being a small state in a larger, increasingly federated continent--"It's almost inevitable if one place - with open access to the rest of Europe - legalizes dope, while the rest don't, it could still become a haven for drug-criminals across Europe"--but ignore the fact that this would inevitably be the case in America as well.

"Assuming Congress were to have a collective aneurysm and strike down federal marijuana laws, it could safely be assumed that a dozen or so states would act on their previously indicated preferences and follow suit. However, it is equally certain that many if not most states would retain prohibitionary laws, resulting in the same state-by-state legal imbalance that exists in Europe. The likely consequences would be interstate border patrols and an increase in criminal conduct, particularly smuggling and attendant crimes, in those states that decriminalized the drug.

"Unfortunately, I do not think that your hypothesized scenario of "[a] continent-wide liberalization of marijuana laws in the U.S." is realistic, and therefore the sort of problems that the Netherlands has encountered would be unavoidable."

Mr. Sullivan's site is also worth checking out today (I mean, of course, even more worth checking out than usual) as it contains links to some enlightening pieces on gay marriages and why social conservatives should support them.