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More And More Republicans Are Supporting Marijuana Reform


gop marijuana conservatives chris christie rick perryWith poll after poll showing that marijuana legalization is now a mainstream issue, it doesn’t really surprise people that more liberals, moderates and libertarians are speaking out about marijuana and other drug law reforms.  However, it still makes news when conservative Republicans like Chris Christie and Rick Perry speak out about the need to move away from the status quo that is only needlessly wasting tax payer dollars, law enforcement resources and people’s lives.  On one hand, these conservatives starting to “see the light” is political news as they are bucking the trend of the Republican Party and the policy position of a majority of people who identify themselves as conservative.  However, ending federal cannabis prohibition, and letting state’s decide their own marijuana policies, is a conservative idea to its core.

William F. Buckley, founder of the National Review, and economist Milton Friedman, two giants of the conservative movement, and they absolutely railed against prohibition.  When the National Review recently editorialized that Colorado was making a prudent choice to legalize marijuana, many were surprised.  But as John Payne, a Republican himself who heads up Missouri’s legalization efforts for Show-Me Cannabis, opined on his Facebook page, “I’m glad to see that National Review has written favorably about legalization in Colorado, but it’s not at all surprising. They have been pro-legalization since way before it was popular.” From the editors of the National Review:

Regardless of whether one accepts the individual-liberty case for legalizing marijuana, the consequentialist case is convincing. That is because the history of marijuana prohibition is a catalogue of unprofitable tradeoffs: billions in enforcement costs, and hundreds of thousands of arrests each year, in a fruitless attempt to control a mostly benign drug the use of which remains widespread despite our energetic attempts at prohibition. We make a lot of criminals while preventing very little crime, and do a great deal of harm in the course of trying to prevent an activity that presents little if any harm in and of itself.


Perhaps most important, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado — and the push for its legalization elsewhere — is a sign that Americans still recognize some limitations on the reach of the state and its stable of nannies-in-arms. The desire to discourage is all too easily transmuted into the desire to criminalize, just as the desire to encourage metastasizes into the desire to mandate. It is perhaps a little dispiriting that of all the abusive overreaches of government to choose from, it is weed that has the nation’s attention, but it is a victory nonetheless.

While some cannabis law reform activists are very concerned when conservatives like Christie and Perry express support for drug law reform, sensing a trap of sorts, I welcome them into the fold. Our fight to end cannabis prohibition only moves so far when seen as a political position of liberals and libertarians.  We need to continue to expand our base as we move forward in our fight to end the barbaric practice of locking people in cages for using a nontoxic plant.  With legalization on the ballot in Alaska and medical marijuana on the ballot in Florida this year, we need conservative voters to vote for the conservative position of ending prohibition.  What is more conservative than personal liberty, states’ rights and generating revenue?  I welcome conservatives into the fold, but you better hurry, because if poll numbers continue to climb, the legalization bandwagon is getting pretty full.

Source: National Cannabis Coalitionmake a donation


About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.


  1. Mr. Holms, I see you’re new here. Can we have a talk? Yeah, what you are doing is illegal. Don’t look now, but I think that’s the moderator knocking on your door…

  2. Finally read where r.perry, gov of tx is ‘seeing the light’, he must’ve found a road to makin $$. he is ONE SLICK RICK.

  3. you can’t trust anything chris christie says.he talks out of both sides of sides of his mouth

  4. No rethuglican, independent, or dem is talking real talk. Legalization, amnesty, equality. Never accept less. Less is unacceptable. WE HAVE FOUGHT TOO HARD, AND COME TOO FAR!

  5. Please hit me up, I am in Gainesville Florida. My Ph. #
    is 352-565-HELP. Ask for Kevin Sabet. My secretary will handle all the
    arrangement’s. I travel all around the country and need a
    reliable source where ever I am. It’s so hard for me to get, especially when
    they hear I am a Dr. in the field of “Nonsensicalology”. Please help !!. I use
    Bitcoin’s so there is no money trail to worry about.

  6. They don’t want to “legalize” dude dispensary is a cash cow they get to control. There really isn’t any freedom of choice its a myth

  7. My Southern AZ hick county had a big front page write up about the Robot/Drone toys they got for Christmas at the local sherriff office. I here ya man…they need it for all the trouble we make growing cotton i guess…Freakin Mor’ons

  8. As a Republican turned Libertarian a couple years ago and who has supported legalization since the early 90’s, I…just like you Anthony, “Welcome them into the fold “. More and more, they’re starting to see that this FAILED war on drugs has cost us more socially than ANYTHING they may have gained by prohibition. It gave birth to the industry of PROFITING off of INCARCERATING people for non violent drug offenses. Yes the Private Prison industry. They’d sentence these guys to DECADES in jail and they’d sit their and ROT while watching Murderers and Rapists go free. It also created a social perception of INTIMIDATION by the Government in order to control your behavior. Living with the FEAR of the threat that LEA’s laid upon people that we’d go to jail FOREVER or a very LONG time for possessing a WEED..

    Prohibition has also created the advent of the “Militarization of our Police Forces”, due to Asset Forfeiture laws. Please answer me this… WHY would a town of 5000 people EVER have use for a “TANK”? They take all the money they’ve STOLEN from people and spend it at Army Surplus Auctions. WHY would ANY TOWN EVER need a tank? If a situation ever escalates to the point of local LEO’s needing a tank, I think they need to brush up on their negotiating skills. Our local Sheriff (Joe Arpaio) made his name off of bullying and threatening people. Claiming how much money he’s saved us by purchasing Helicopters, Tanks, Armored Personnel Carriers e etc… by using the money they’ve STOLEN through Asset Forfeiture laws. How much is he really SAVING its by purchasing all that shit? After you purchase it you’ve got to hire more people with Specialty License as well as all the admin people to maintain them daily? So is he really SAVING us anything?

  9. Indications are that Dems will make reform a campaign issue this year, thus invigorating more younger, pro reform voters to turn out–and likely vote for Dem candidates. The solution for Repubs is obvious: make it a non issue by jumping on the bandwagon of reform.

  10. We can’t do anything about the past but we can end prohibition now. We must heal our economy’s, State by State just like we are doing . The politicians in this country are slow but sure are getting the message.

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