Darryl W. Perry: SCOTUS decision paves way for expanded cannabis legalization


Darryl W. Perry is an anarchist writer and co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Free Talk Live, whose studio was recently raided by the FBI. Perry is a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination. The following article was published on FPP.cc on March 21st, 2016: 

On March 18, the Oregon Department of Revenue announced that during the first month of legal cannabis sales, nearly $3.5 million in tax revenues were raised, which far exceeded projections. Reuters reported, “tax receipts from January also surpassed the first-month tallies from recreational cannabis sales in Colorado and Washington state, the first two states to legalize general commercial distribution of pot for adults.”

The tax rates and regulations vary between the three states which allow adults over the age of 21 to legally purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries. Reuters added that regulators in Alaska, where recreational cannabis was approved in 2014, “expect stores to open by the end of this year.”

Not everyone has welcomed the legalization of cannabis. Legal challenges were filed by the Attorneys General of Nebraska & Oklahoma to the cannabis regulations in neighboring Colorado. The Washington Post reported on the lawsuits last year, the AG’s are “arguing that Colorado’s law violates the Controlled Substances Act, which dictates federal drug policy. Their lawsuit contends that ‘the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system enacted by the United States Congress. Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States’ own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.’”

On March 21, 2016 the Drug Policy Alliance reported “the US Supreme Court declined to hear the case brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado over its marijuana legalization law.” The Post added, the 6-2 decision was released “without comment.”

In a statement from the Director of Legal Affairs of the Drug Policy Alliance, Tamar Todd, said, “The Supreme Court’s rejection of this misguided effort to undo cautious and effective state-level regulation of marijuana is excellent news for the many other states looking to adopt similar reforms in 2016 and beyond. Other states are looking to what Colorado has accomplished: the drops in racially disparate arrests, the criminal justice dollars saved, and the tax revenue raised and want to adopt similar marijuana law reforms. The dismissal of this action means that the four states that have adopted ballot initiatives by decisive margins to tax and regulate marijuana for adults, as well as the many states that have adopted laws to regulate medical marijuana, can proceed without interference at this time.”

While I welcome the inaction by the US Supreme Court on this issue, I do so for different reasons than those expressed by the DPA. I am no fan of regulations, no matter how “cautious and effective” they may be, because regulations by their very nature prohibit one group of individuals from providing a good or service that others are authorized to provide. I long for the day that cannabis – and every other substance that any person can grow, manufacture, process, possess and/or consume – is as legal as tomatoes. Until we get to that point, I welcome any action or inaction by a government that prevents said government from interfering in consensual activity.

One response to “Darryl W. Perry: SCOTUS decision paves way for expanded cannabis legalization

  1. The more sophisticated libertarians among us believe that no substance, especially naturally occurring substances, should be banned from possession by individuals. That certainly includes marijuana. It also includes firearms, stun guns, nitric acid and a whole host of other substances and objects that are presently prohibited or “restricted” in some or many states. Possession of these kinds of materials should not be a crime, any more than the ABILITY to deliver a fatal fist to a victim should be a crime. Only the BAD USE of these or other materials or capabilities should be a crime. That is fully consistent with the fundamental libertarian principle of non-aggression.

    The problem that most libertarians have with marijuana is that they are so fixated on this small part of the overall picture for this one substance that their desire to eliminate its ban or restriction becomes more important for them, and more visible to the general public and media, than the big principle that POSSESSION should not be a crime — for any such things. In their enthusiasm to “win” on the marijuana issue, they compromise other equally or more important libertarian principles.

    To wit — In those states like Colorado which have partially legalized marijuana, there is a huge loss in the battle for liberty that has come along as “collateral damage”. What is that loss, you ask? Namely that the “”decriminalization” (whether partial or complete) brings with it that horrible tool of oppressive government and organized crime — LICENSING. Not only must marijuana “vendors” beg the state for permission to sell, but they also must pay exorbitant licensing fees. Actually, ANY licensing fee is exorbitant to real libertarians. Such a system automatically reeks of favoritism and corruption.

    But even worse, many people are ecstatic about the great new tax and licensing revenues brought in by the state, as if that were something good, and a small price to pay to let the “potheads” and medical dreamers have their tetrahydrocannabinol and its associated toxins. Libertarians need to GET REAL. Bringing in more money for the state is NOT productive. It is destructive to liberty. All states, and especially the federal government, take in and spend far more money than they should. (That should not need to be stated for libertarians.) If they take in more, they will just waste more, and further decrease individual liberty as they do so. We need to STARVE THE BEAST, not feed it! Libertarians should advocate for repeal of possession laws, but not settle for results in such a way that is counterproductive.

    Don’t FEED the beast, STARVE it !!!!!

    As a postscript — I believe that Darryl Perry has a better grasp of this than most libertarians. His “legal as tomatoes” position is a fine beginning explanation that we can use with the general public. I don’t want to tax you or license you to grow or possess tomatoes. And I don’t like tomatoes. You can have all you want. You shouldn’t need the government’s permission, and you don’t need my permission. Just don’t throw them at me if I happen to be giving a speech at a meeting that you are attending. That would be very unlibertarian, and could unleash a fatal fist or some other improper response.


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