View Full Version : Supreme Court Justice Stevens: Smoking Pot Akin To Drinking During Prohibition

06-28-2007, 02:56 PM
Stevens: Smoking pot akin to drinking during prohibition


Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday June 27, 2007

In his dissent on a recent free-speech case, Justice John Paul Stevens wades into the war-on-drugs debate, comparing modern-day pot smokers with "otherwise law-abiding patrons of bootleggers and speakeasies," during the prohibition era.

Stevens, who the Washington Post notes turned 87 on April 20, said the current climate surrounding the war on drugs "is reminiscent of the opinion that supported the nationwide ban on alcohol consumption when I was a student."

The Supreme Court this week ruled against an Alaska student who displayed a "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" sign at an event outside his high school, and Stevens wrote the dissent for the four justices who believed the student's free-speech rights should be protected.

"Today the actions of literally millions of otherwise law-abiding users of marijuana, and of the majority of voters in each of the several States that tolerate medicinal uses of the product, lead me to wonder whether the fear of disapproval by those in the majority in silencing opponents of the war on drugs," Stevens wrote.

Most debate over the efficacy of the war on drugs focuses on government crackdowns on users of medical marijuana, for whom the drug eases chronic pain. But in comparing pot smoking to social drinking, Stevens suggests that the drug could be legalized in all cases.

In his opinion, Stevens insists "no one seriously maintains that drug advocacy ... can be prohibited because of its feared consequences." Later, Stevens observes the shift in Americans' views on alcohol since the 1920s and 30s.

"While alcoholic beverages are now regarded as ordinary articles of commerce, their use was then condemned with the same moral fervor that now supports the war on drugs," Stevens writes.

In a 2005 case, Stevens wrote for the court's 6-3 majority that upheld the federal government's right to prosecute medical marijuana patients in states that have legalized medical use of the drug.

But his opinion was based strictly on Congress's ability to regulate interstate commerce, and that opinion included mention that credible research showing marijuana could be medically effective would "cast serious doubt" on the government's classification of the drug as a Schedule I narcotic. And he all but encouraged the advocates to take their argument directly to Congress.

06-28-2007, 06:32 PM
I agree completely. But of course I go to the extreme here as well. It should ALL be legal. Heroin, coke whatever. It's either all or none. I don't condone the use of any of those things. However, the government is playing the winning side of the war on drugs. That is to say as the suppliers, they make an obscene amount of cash, while at the same time fighting the "war on drugs" that with asset forfiture and such makes it win win for them.

06-28-2007, 07:19 PM
The problem with heroin and coke being legal is that it makes people fucking dangerous to other people.

06-28-2007, 07:25 PM
It could be argued by a person who uses nothing that ALL of it is equally dangerous. How many lives does alcohol claim a day between drunk driving manslaughters and booze fueled beatings and murders? Smack and blow are no more dangerous than alcohol. They are more addicitve, and cause people to commit crimes to get more. It's all or none. I don't need anyone to tell me not to use anyof these things because I know the shit is poison. So much easier to put them in jail to the tune of millions in cutters fees each year. AND they get to do that with the drunls also. Again, it's win win...