The Moral Incoherence of Drug Prohibition

by Ryan McMaken

The state of Rhode Island is considering the legalization of recreational marijuana, and some opponents of legalization have jumped in to demand the status quo continues.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday for example, that Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has come out forcefully against the legalization of marijuana claiming that marijuana turns people into “zombie-like individuals.”

Tobin’s implied support for breaking up families and jailing fathers, wives, mothers, and husbands — for the “crime” of using a plant that Tobin dislikes — is illustrative. Tobin’s positions provide us with a helpful and high-profile example of the flaws in attempts to make moral arguments claiming that non-violent activities should be regulated and punished by states.

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