“I don’t want my kids to smoke marijuana,” says Marco Rubio. “And I don’t want other people’s kids to smoke marijuana.” Therefore, he reasons, marijuana must remain illegal.
Committing a laundry list of elementary logical errors, Rubio has spent the past months extinguishing any hope that he might be joining Republicans like Rick Perry in moving towards a more libertarian stance on drug laws.
Rubio’s primary argument is that he doesn’t “think there is a responsible way to recreationally use marijuana.” Since Rubio has never called for a ban on cigarettes – by far the leading cause of preventable death in the United States – or eating oneself into obesity, we might infer that he thinks it is possible to do these things responsibly.
Rubio inadvertently highlights an important point: it is folly for libertarians to make the marijuana debate primarily about marijuana’s effects on health – regardless of what those effects are. Critics of the drug war should focus on the way that decriminalization will, like the legalization of alcohol in 1933, reduce the scope of government and de-finance murderous cartels. Rubio’s concerns about responsible recreational use would then become irrelevant.