Jacob Sullum

Brooks, keen to protect his deep center and avoid embarrassing public speaking incidents, does not care for pot anymore. But Marcus admits, "I have done my share of inhaling," and she plans to "check out some Bubba Kush" the next time she is in Colorado.

Still, Marcus thinks she should not be allowed to do that -- because of the kids. "The more widely available marijuana becomes," she writes, "the more minors will use it."

Marcus concedes that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. "The reason to single out marijuana," she says, "is the simple fact of its current (semi-)illegality." In other words, marijuana should be illegal because it is illegal. I believe this is an example of what philosophers call the is/ought fallacy.

What Brooks and Marcus conspicuously fail to do is offer a moral justification for banning marijuana but not alcohol (which poses greater hazards when consumed to excess and is consumed by minors a lot more often), plus every other adult pleasure that Brooks deems insufficiently "uplifting." They do not even seem to understand that a moral justification is needed for using force to suppress an activity that violates no one's rights.

With allies and arguments like these, it's no wonder the prohibitionists are losing. A few days after Brown, Brooks and Marcus galvanized the anti-pot movement with their thrilling defenses of the status quo, CNN announced poll results indicating that 54 percent of Americans think "the sale of marijuana should be made legal."

Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.
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