Advertise On Marijuana Passion

A Question of Consequences


i wanna be cool too!
Oct 22, 2005
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Nevada -- This November, the people of Nevada will vote on a number of ballot initiatives, one of which deals with marijuana laws. This initiative, known as Question 7, will decriminalize possession of the substance up to one ounce for people over the age of 21. The laws for minors will stay generally the same. There will be harsher penalties for helping minors acquire marijuana and for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Half of the tax and licensing money for marijuana will benefit drug education; the other half will go into the state fund.

Some might claim Question 7's motivation is amoral. The advocates say, look, the laws have failed; everyone that wants to smoke pot does it anyway, so let's regulate and tax it, making it safer. The thrust of the argument is pragmatic, and pragmatic arguments ring well with people, especially Americans. But these arguments often don't consider whether something is inherently good or bad. In this argument, from consequences comes merit or malignance. Though most people mix their ethical theories, conservatives of an odd stripe pounce on this pragmatism. This strategy generally fails—especially in this case.
It is important to note that many advocates of Question 7 are impartial regarding marijuana usage. Generally, this is the case with these types of arguments, as with abortion. I don't want women to have to go through abortions, and I don't urge everyone to start smoking pot, but reason dictates that both should be legal.

Also, one shouldn't feign that all in Question 7 is perfect. There are costs and benefits to weigh. The pull is between the desire to stop unjust incarcerations and the simultaneous desire to strip the government of as much power as possible. Anti-authoritarians cringe to relinquish any power to the government, even the power to regulate. It takes more power from the people. This inclination must be juxtaposed with the costs of not passing it. One must ask, what's worse, more government control or unjust incarcerations stemming from laws that don't work or make sense? The reasonable answer is the latter. The argument for Question 7's passage is pragmatic. The evaluation of the cost benefit analysis works just the same.

Back to the argument: Suppose I argue that abortion should stay legal because the likely consequences of outlawing it would be terrible. One could counter by claiming that abortion is wrong in itself and should be illegal regardless of consequences. Now further suppose someone uses this strategy with Question 7. They would say, regardless of the consequences, it shouldn't be passed because marijuana usage is bad in itself. One can't consistently condone the use of alcohol and tobacco while condemning Question 7 without appealing to consequences. What could one say? One could perhaps disallow all drug usage, but most don't take this position. Or, one could say that outlawing tobacco and alcohol will have dire consequences, as did prohibition.

Once someone makes this move, then the battle is between consequences. There is not the space here to compare consequences, but advocates for Question 7 win the argument.

Progressives endure criticism that they are impractical. Reason and reality are on our side.

Source: Rebel Yell (Las Vegas, NV Edu)
Author: Jesse Fitts
Published: September 25, 2006
Copyright: 2006 Rebel Yell


Just a Dawg
Jan 6, 2006
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I really wish advocates for MJ legalization would leave stuff like abortion and those kinda things outa the statements. Thats a whole other can of worms. IMHO Like Emery...every time I hear him talk he has to bring in gay marraiges or something. I wish they would stay on topic without bringin something else in that controversial. :mad: I think it hurts not helps. Someone that could be for MJ and against another topic could be swayed if the advocate is pushing more than one subject.

but just my 2 cents.

Anyhoo I agree with what was said. It is hypocritical to say ..oh you can drink but don't smoke weed. I also agree with the 21 and over thing. I think 18 is a better age. If ya can go over to fight in a war..should be able to practice the same things as 21+ people. either that or change the recruitment age to 21.

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