Stoned soul Tea Party

The proposed Oregon Cannabis Tax Act cites the Bible as authority for marijuana legalization. No, really. “Herb bearing seed.”

Have you ever wondered what a hard-core, Bible-thumping, Tenth Amendment Tea Partisan would produce as legislation if he got really, really stoned first? Actually, neither had I. But then I found out by reading the text of Oregon’s proposed Measure 80, one of three marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot this fall. (Colorado and Washington have much more serious proposals up.)

Here’s my favorite passage:

Whereas the people hold that cannabis prohibition is a sumptuary law of a nature repugnant to our constitution’s framers and which is so unreasonable and liberticidal as to ….

…. (c) Unnecessarily proscribe consumption of a “herb bearing seed” given to humanity in Genesis 1:29, thereby violating their unqualified religious rights under Article 1, Section 3 and their Natural Rights under Article 1, Section 33 of the Oregon Constitution.

Yep. You read that right. Oregonians are being asked to write into their state’s statute book the idea that marijuana legalization is mandated by the Bible. The proposal also provides that the legal cannabis industry is to be regulated by a seven-member commission, with five of the seven elected by the licensed cannabis growers and processors.

The whole thing is worth reading; it’s superb, in a Firesign Theater sort of way.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

15 thoughts on “Stoned soul Tea Party”

  1. this is shocking. they want to regulate the doob? That’s a slippery slope to socialism. what’s next? a well regulated militia? isn’t that the 2nd commandment in the communist manifesto?

    1. Yes, well regulated. Which regulation must not abridge the right of the people to bear arms.

      The people thought well regulated necessarily included the free bearing of arms.

  2. And lo, there came unto them Phillip, called Punter
    And he was Lillian Wroth in his extremity.
    Merrily, merrily he came unto them saying: Merrily, Merrily;
    And he came.
    And he came unto the house of his father’s mother’s brother’s servant saying, Where am I?
    And there was none there to answer him, not even no one saying, Yea nowhere;
    But in the land of reversible cups, and sanitary pedestals;
    And he dwelt in that land a long time, like worms out of a hot cheese log

  3. Gouverneur Morris wrote a paper he sent to Thomas Jefferson called, “Notes Respecting Tobacco” that compared cannabis and tobacco and concluded that cannabis “is to be preferred”

    Well, that settles it!

    Seriously, the real value of these initiatives is to pass and thus provoke a federal showdown, prompting an uneasy truce eventually leading to national acquiescence. The regulatory schemes described within these initiatives won’t be supreme for too long.

  4. I like how the subsection numbers end with .005, .015, .025, and so on, presumably so that some later session of the legislature can insert a .010 between .005 and .015.

    It reminds me of the BASIC programs I wrote in my youth.

  5. Kudos for the Firesign Theatre reference. Trailing clouds of glory and where can I score some Road-apple Red?

  6. I’m as pro-legalization as they come, but justifying any law on the Bible clearly violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment, something I value even more highly (no pun intended) than weed.

  7. Mark,

    I agree. The Oregon bill is not only filled with real “pearls of wisdom”, but also absolutely devoid of any details as to how they would regulate the marijuana trade.

    But if you want to see a really content-free marijuana bill, I offer the bill sent this morning by the President of Uruguay to his Congress: (in Spanish).

    Best regards,

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