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Less Than Two-Thirds Of Libertarians Support Marijuana Legalization


libertarian party marijuanaWhen people ask what my political party affiliation is, I usually say that I’m a moderate, and that I’m not registered with any political party (which is true). However, if I was forced to pick one political party, I would describe myself as being more Libertarian than anything. I don’t agree with all of the party platform, but I agree with the description at LP.org, which states:

Libertarians believe in, and pursue, personal freedom while maintaining personal responsibility.  The Libertarian Party itself serves a much larger pro-liberty community with the specific mission of electing Libertarians to public office.

Libertarians strongly oppose any government interfering in their personal, family and business decisions.  Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another.

I am very much a supporter of personal freedom and liberty, and feel that it needs to be balanced with personal responsibility. I especially feel that way when it comes to marijuana policy. I don’t believe the government should be able to interfere in someone’s life simply because they consume marijuana in private settings. After all, I’m doing no harm to anyone else when I consume marijuana in a private setting. Until I read a recent article on Pew Research’s website, I thought that most, if not all Libertarians, agreed. But based upon the article, 35% of Libertarians don’t support marijuana legalization.

I would love to hear why a Libertarian doesn’t support marijuana legalization. If you are a Libertarian that doesn’t support marijuana legalization, please e-mail me with an explanation, or post it in the comments. I don’t think that everyone should be able to do anything anywhere, but I think that marijuana consumption in a private setting is a prime example of what a Libertarian should support. I look forward to reading your comments.


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Johnny Green


  1. IThink prostitution should also be legalized, which may take some regulation which I know libertarians oppose.i also believe gambling should be legalized.these crimes are a waste of time and effort for law enforcement and could generate tax revenue that states desperately need.

  2. I like the libertarian stance .I think the drug war is bullshit and I’m tired of seeing non violent people being sent to jail . Unfortunately I don’t think they’d ever get the votes. I think if rand paul won you might see some progress,too bad he has no chance as a libertarian candidate. so he has to run as a republican.

  3. you mean Democrat Patrick Kennedy? Democrat Jimmy Carter, Democrat Jerry Brown, Democrat Dianne Finestein, Democrat Maggie Hassan, Democrat John Hickenlooper, Democrat Obama or Democrat Biden?

  4. Progressive Western State Democrat’s. It’s just difficult to picture WA. or CO. happening under a President Romney or Santorum.

  5. Anarchism being to the left of Liberalism. Libertarianism being to the Right of Conservatism. Therefore I suppose I must in truth be an anarchist.

  6. Why would sellers self regulate? Because it is good for business. Happy customers tell 2 or 3 friends. Unhappy customers tell everyone. Interested in a GM car? The finest ignition switches they can fob off on you.

    Evidently you have never been a producer. The good ones don’t think the way you think they would. The bad ones don’t stay in business. Except for GM. Which is propped up by government.

    I have worked in aerospace and the big dread that informs all design decisions is: “if this fails in a way I haven’t anticipated will some one die?” And it has nothing to do with the regulations. It has to do with the culture. Every time an aircraft crash was announced the biggest worry was “was it something I did?” No amount of regulation can buy that kind of culture.

    I also worked in the meat packing industry. The government inspector would black tag (not even good for dog food) a pallet of meat and when he went home the bosses would wash the meat and ship it. Government inspection did nothing useful. Bad culture.

    Or take the wind turbine industry – subsidized by government. Look up bearing failure in wind turbines. Without the subsidy and government backing they would be out of business.

    Reality does not match what is in your head. Very dangerous.

  7. There are trade groups that offer guidelines. They do it because they don’t want regulation imposed. If there is no more threat of imposition, they will no longer self-regulate. Why would they? UL I am sure does not give sanctions for not following their guidelines – at the worst, you will lose the UL label.

  8. Thanks for your reply,

    Most democrats or former democrats that would call themselves libertarians probably support reform of our Cannabis laws.

    Have a nice day.

  9. The Koch bros support Reason Magazine which is wildly anti-prohibition and wildly anti-SWAT teams. But yeah. They are some evil dudes.

  10. UL got in before the government preempted the market. If government got out of the way such organizations would arise to serve the need. Of course if you prefer the corruptness of government by all means continue with the current political solutions.

    And why is it easy to bribe government? They have sovereign immunity. Something no private entity gets.

    Look at how corrupt our police are in drug raids. Do they ever get put up on charges? Well every few years. Private orgs. get no such luxury.

    You are being hurt by what is going on and can’t imagine anything better. Well you are certainly getting the government you deserve.

  11. How about being embarrassed by the Obama administration too, it’s a joke that’s being played on everyone.
    He said numerous times that pot should be decriminalized, but the federal raids continue in states that have legalized medical marijuana.
    It’s a matter of politicians saying anything necessary for a television news sound bite, so trusting anyone or any organization these days is suspect.

  12. That’s ok–plenty of people who don’t call themselves libertarians don’t know what it means either, even though a number of them really are libertarians. Yin and yang.

  13. “here’s the problem a libertarian might have. legalization of marijuana would lead to a financial catastrophe. you can count off all the businesses, government agencies, institutions that depend on keeping marijuana illegal. ”

    No libertarian would have a problem with that; preserving prohibition to protect the government-enforced benefits that accrue to some at the expense of others is completely and 100% not a libertarian position. That is what statists are for.

  14. There is no such thing as a Libertarian who does not support legalization; it’s an oxymoron. People who claim to be such have simply misidentified themselves. It’s a case of mistaken classification, like saying you’re a Christian but you don’t believe in Jesus.

  15. I think that the 35% of people who called themselves libertarian and do not support more liberal Cannabis laws should usually belong to one of the following groups.

    1) People who have heard others talking about libertarianism and think those persons are cool. Remember, some people get tattoos because it’s fashionable and not because it has a deeper personal meaning.

    2) Those who like Ron or Rand Paul for a different reason other than Cannabis.

    3) People who are embarrassed, after the Bush/Cheney administration, to call themselves republicans or conservatives.

    4) People who lean libertarian on other issues, but have had bad personal experiences or have seen a relative struggle with harder drugs. They usually blame substances and not behavior or prohibition laws for their bad luck.

    5) Conservatives who don’t want to give away their party identity and need to cope with the fact that they have pretty much lost the cultural war that began in the 1960’s.

    In the end, these people should go to the LP website or at least read a Wikipedia article on the subject and educate themselves. They are not true followers of the movement and I would bet that very few of the 35% of these so called “libertarians”, if any at all, voted for gov. Gary Johnson in the last election. I think that it would have been a fair question to have asked them in the same poll, who they voted for in the 2012 presidential election. I would bet again that over 97% of them would tell you that they voted for Romney.

  16. Quick, name 5 more organizations like UL which are private and voluntary. I’ll wait…. I don’t think you (or anyone else) can. They are an anomaly and I’ll give you credit for naming them. And by the way, UL is voluntary. Next time you’re in Wal*Mart, check out some electrical stuff from China. How many have the UL label?

    As for suing, check out some of the biggest Libertarians in the country: the Koch brothers. One of them actually ran for VP on the LP ticket years ago and they are MAJOR funders of the Cato Institute, which is billed as a “Libertarian think tank.” Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t want their brand of “hands off” in control of my government, which under them would soon be my former government. They are slowly trying to “buy” offices from Senate and House down to the county level. If they get their way, there will be NO regulation of the environment at all. That costs them money, they don’t want it. That in itself is enough to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up and put me in the “fight or flight” mode. I’m 62, if they ever get control, I hope it’s after I’m dead and gone.

    Oh yeah, check out ALEC, partially funded by the Koch-sucker brothers. Google ALEC and tort reform, see how they work. It may amaze you at the power grab they are trying to perform.

  17. If they get power, basically ALL oversight will disappear

    Do we need government oversight for electrical safety? No. We have UL. Private oversight is better faster cheaper and more honest. After all if they cheat they can be sued. Ever try suing government?

    If pot prohibition hasn’t cured you of the government habit nothing will.

  18. Donald Meinshausen on

    I’m a founder of the libertarian movement (since 1969) and I have yet to meet anyone at a libertarian event or chatroom who does not support legalization of pot. Try going to an LP event and saying that you are against legalization and watch how fast people will line up to argue with you. We turned down Ann Coulter’s request once to run as one of our candidates for just that reason. However in Washington DC there is a saying that a libertarian is a conservative who gets invited to parties. So the term libertarian is popular and many who do not understand the ideas implications, like anarchism, anti-imperialism, pro-gay marriage etc.

  19. There is a difference between the Libertarian Party and being a libertarian. The organized party by that name should be called the Corporate Irresponsibility Party. If they get power, basically ALL oversight will disappear, the rule of the land will be “Buyer Beware”. Do you want your legal marijuana inspected/tested so you know if it’s covered with pesticides or actually 20% THC? Then you don’t want the Libertarian Party in charge. Are you an engineer? You need to be to discover if that new automobile you wish to buy is safe–no more Dept of Transportation rules about non-exploding gas tanks, non-auto-shut-off ignition switches, etc. So something bad DOES happen to you, what’s your recourse? Well, you can try suing but they will institute tort reform making it a waste of time. Corporations will rule the country even more than they do now with our Republican Supreme Court deciding well over half the cases in favor of corporate overlords. The consumer is nothing, we are expendable.

    However, a libertarian (lower case), is an individual who seeks a balance between government inspection of some items which we can’t individually check like the FDA does for our prescription meds. I have some real libertarian leanings myself but would NEVER vote for anyone with the (L) next to their name.

    You are all free to disagree with me but I’d like to see some evidence I’m wrong if you think so. I’ve done the research and believe all the facts are on the side of what I have typed above.

  20. here’s the problem a libertarian might have. legalization of marijuana would lead to a financial catastrophe. you can count off all the businesses, government agencies, institutions that depend on keeping marijuana illegal. u.s. has been sold a lie of such huge proportions that politicians have cashed in and continue to cash in on prohibition. sure, prohibition allows criminals to prosper but not nearly close to as much a legislatures, senators, agencies. all depend on drug war, and the drug war, as you know, is a war on cannabis. and in reality hemp, which i believe is what 1930’s politicians feared most, remains just as illegal as marijuana.
    sure we all want freedom for ourselves. but as for others….not so much. johnny, there are a lot of very stupid people in this country. let’s hope it’s ignorance rather than stupidity, but i fear the propaganda of the gov.t and its cheerleaders will divide and conquer the electorate. this is what you guys fighting against prohibition are up against. it’s rockefellerism and it has dominated america from the days of the standard oil trust.

  21. HmmmSaysDavidHume on

    It’s one thing to believe in an ideology. It’s quite another to practice with consistency, particularly if your upbringing was different than your ideology. If, for example, I was raised in a conservative household (I wasn’t), and came to abhor certain aspects of that upbringing (I didn’t), I will seek out new ways of thinking (because that’s my way, as a libertarian), perhaps even become a libertarian in my mind. And sincerely so.

    However, elements of my upbringing, like it or not, will ooze into my decision-making. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And while I am not suggesting that those believing they are libertarian (or another ideology for that matter) are insincere, or don’t understand the idea, I am suggesting it can be exceedingly difficult to be consistent to a given view when so many other ideas – even ones we reject or renounce – inform our decisions.

    So when someone lives in a place with a bad drug and gang problem, or has a vivid, negative direct experience with drugs, the drug war, alcoholism, or some other problem, that vivid, recent experience can and does easily trump loftier ideals. And it’s why some erroneously think that keeping a substance illegal will keep usage down. We all know that to be false, and that that person’s governmental brainwashing is complete, but we also know that overcoming those barriers is working exceptionally well today.

    The engagement of people via comment boards and the myriad other methods for sharing and learning on the Internet gets lots of credit. The jig is up for Prohibitionists.

  22. 35% of people that call themselves libertarian do not know what being a libertarian means.

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