Larry Kudlow: This story coming out of Washington has lit up Twitter and Facebook. Congressman Ron Paul and Barney Frank will be introducing a bill to end marijuana prohibition. A short time ago, Texas Republican Ron Paul spoke with me about exactly what he’s advocating. Take a listen.
Ron Paul: Well, removing it from the jurisdiction of the federal government and allowing the states to regulate it, like they would alcohol. And this seems to be strange for a lot of people, but I’m only going back to 1937 when that’s the way it was handled. The states always did this, and I’m motivated strongly also because the states legalize it for the use of medicinal purposes and it is helpful to people who have cancer or are getting chemotherapy. So this is not a huge radical idea, it’s something that was legal for a long, long time. And the war against marijuana causes so much hardship and accomplishes nothing. So I would say that marijuana, as far as causing highway problems, is miniscule compared to alcohol, and yet we knew prohibition of alcohol was very bad. So this is just getting back to a sensible position on how we handle difficult problems. And, for me, it should be the states.
Larry Kudlow: Alright, let the states regulate, yes, I agree with that, that’s a free market position, it’s a 10th Amendment position. Mr. Paul, in one of the debates, though, you came out for the legalization of marijuana and heroin. Is that still your view?
Ron Paul: Well, you know, I’ve never used the word heroine in my life when I talked about legalizing freedom of choice. And that one, too, was once legal and I concluded that argument and they sort of got the point when I said when they were making a big deal, your freedom philosophy means somebody could use heroine. I said, “You know, if tomorrow we legalize, how many of you in this audience would you heroine? Of course, nobody would.” So it’s a moot point, it’s how you regulate things and whether or not this trillion dollars we spend on the war on drugs … really since the early 1970s, the modern day war on drugs started with Richard Nixon and it’s a catastrophe, just as the prohibition was a catastrophe. So yes, they’re regulations for children and the way the states want to handle it. But, you know, it’s sort of like saying, “I believe in the first amendment”, and they say, “Oh, that means you’re pro-pornography”, or something like that. It’s ridiculous. Permitting something to happen does not mean that you authorize it or endorse it, it’s not an endorsement of what people do.
Larry Kudlow: Do you worry, sir? I mean, look, I’m recovering alcoholic and drug abuser. I’m coming after 16 years, with God’s grace. Do you worry, sir, that this opens the door to more drug use, sets the wrong example, sends the wrong single? It’s an honest question on my part, do you ever worry about that? You yourself are a doctor..
Ron Paul: No, because I think it’s much worse because kids today have an easier time finding marijuana than they can alcohol. And how many cases of drug addiction were prevented by the laws? Do the laws really do it? Would putting you in prison for about 5 years, do you think that would have helped you? Would that have cured you? No, this is a medical problem, it’s not a legal problem. You shouldn’t be a criminal because you have a problem with drugs. So I just don’t think putting you in prison would have been helpful at all.
Larry Kudlow: Alright, well, I did it through a faith-based self help program, but I appreciate your point of view.
Ron Paul: The market, Larry, that’s the market way of taking care of a problem.
Larry Kudlow: I guess I do. I want to agree with you on why the states should have the jurisdiction on this and so many other things. I think that’s exactly the right position.
Ron Paul: We should be very consistent.
Larry Kudlow: I got to go. Congressman Paul, you’re terrific for helping us out tonight, I appreciate it.
Ron Paul: Alright.