Image of conservative William F. Buckley Jr.
Lily Rothman ~ Time
 
American conservatives haven't always opposed legalizing pot
~
The United States’ latest skirmish in the battle over marijuana laws is still ongoing and, for lawmakers, it hits close to home. On Thursday, possession of a limited amount of the drug became legal for adult residents of Washington, D.C. — but, thanks to the intervention of a group of Congressmen, there’s still no way to legally buy it or sell it there, which may lead to the development of a “free weed economy.”
 
The legislative action taken to stop the District from developing a monetary economy for pot has broken down along party lines, with Republican lawmakers against the change in stance toward the drug and Democrats urging the city to go ahead.
 
It may seem like a natural thing for conservatives to be, well, conservative about changing drug laws — polls have shown that Republicans are much less likely than Democrats to support legalization —but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, there was a time during the 1970s when the nation’s leading conservative voices spoke out on behalf of legalizing marijuana, for many of the same reasons that advocates of legalization cite today.
 
At that time, in late 1972, a large study from the nonpartisan Consumers Union had just come out, urging legalization, as well as government-supported treatment for addictions to other substances. The report found that it was too late for law enforcement to keep pot from becoming part of American culture — and, surprisingly, its authors weren’t the only ones to think so, as TIME reported that December:
 
…American conservatives may have arched their eyebrows well above the hairline when they glimpsed the latest issue of William F. Buckley Jr.’s staunchly nonpermissive National Review. There on the cover was the headline: THE TIME HAS COME: ABOLISH THE POT LAWS. Inside, Richard C. Cowan, a charter member of the conservative Young Americans for Freedom, sets forth his arguments that the criminal penalties for marijuana possession and use should be stricken from the books. Cowan contends that pot is comparatively harmless, demonstrably ubiquitous and that the laws against it only alienate the young and breed disrespect for American justice.
The attitude was a shift for Buckley, who in 1971 testified against loosening penalties but wrote in 1972 that he agreed with Cowan. “It seems, in fact, that Buckley has smoked grass himself—but only on his sailboat, outside the three-mile limit,” TIME noted. “His verdict: ‘To tell the truth, marijuana didn’t do a thing for me.'”
 
~

Recent News Articles

Tuesday March 10

First recreational pot shop in a major East Coast city opens - Cannabis News

in Top Stories

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

Boston’s first pot shop opened Monday, marking the first recreational marijuana store to open in…

3252 hits

Tuesday March 10

USDA Secretary Blames DEA For Strict Hemp Rules - Cannabis News

in CBD & Hemp

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

The head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently said that the Drug Enforcement…

3123 hits

Tuesday March 10

Illinois sells $1 million in legal cannabis, per day - Cannabis News

in Finance

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

Just two months into adult-use legalization and Illinois dispensaries are selling more than a million…

3232 hits

Tuesday March 10

The Hotel Industry Is Making a Killing Off Marijuana Legalization, Study Finds - Cannabis News

in Cannabis News

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

A new study found that Colorado’s hospitality industry can thank legal weed for making $130…

3631 hits

Wednesday March 11

You can’t be fired in N.J. for failing drug test because of medical marijuana, court…

in Law & Crime

by Bruce Kennedy - Editor in Chief

New Jersey’s top court ruled Tuesday that workers can’t be fired for failing a drug…

2864 hits