Tom Tancredo today called for the legalization of marijuana.
“Legalize it. Regulate it. Tax it,” said the American Constitution Party candidate for governor. He said despite all the time and money dedicated to the war on drugs, it has been a complete failure. “If you can show me where we can get people off drugs by continuing down this same path, then show me,” he said.
Tancredo said no one skulks around parks or school playgrounds trying to sell alcohol for the simple reason that the law provides no incentive for such behavior given that you can sell alcohol legally to adults.
Republican Dan Maes and Democrat John Hickenlooper both said they oppose legalization of marijuana. The comments were made at a debate in Colorado Springs sponsored by Action 22, a political action group representing 22 counties in SE Colorado.
Maes said if pot was legalized and taxed, the money brought in would probably just be wasted on the expansion of social programs anyway. “We might as well prostitute our teenage daughters and tax that,” he said sarcastically.
“Dan and I don’t disagree too much on this,” Hickenlooper said. He said he has discussed the issue with social scientists, psychologists, and law enforcement professionals and that they all agree legalizing marijuana would be a bad idea.
Tancredo countered that he knows many people in law enforcement who support legalizing marijuana and who say dealing with people who are high on marijuana is seldom as dangerous or problematic as dealing with drunks. “The arguments against marijuana today are they same as the arguments against liquor years ago,” he said.
Maes said legalized medical marijuana in Colorado was the first step toward legalization generally and that the state needs to control medical marijuana better than it is doing now. “They’re coming in through the basement door and they’re working their way up,” he said.
Hickenlooper said he supports medical marijuana and talked about someone he knows in city government “who has probably never been drunk a day in her life” but who suffers from debilitating back pain. He said marijuana is the only thing that has ever helped her. He noted that she doesn’t smoke it but takes a tincture.
While in Congress, Tancredo voted in 2006 for an amendment to stop the U.S. Department of Justice and DEA from using taxpayer funds to raid or investigate people involved in medical marijuana.