David Simpson, a Texas Republican state representative who describes himself as a “constitutional conservative,” has introduced what is surely the best and most libertarian marijuana re-legalization bill yet.
His bill — introduced this month — would simply eliminate all references to marijuana in Texas law, presumably making marijuana as legal as rose bushes or pine trees.
And he justifies it as part of an overall personal and political philosophy based on Christian values, individual liberty and limited government.
Simpson explains his thinking in a remarkable op-ed in The Texas Tribune, entitled “The Christian Case for Drug Law Reform.” Excerpts:
As a Christian, I recognize the innate goodness of everything God made and humanity’s charge to be stewards of the same.
In fact, it’s for this reason that I’m especially cautious when it comes to laws banning plants. I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix.
[O]ur current ‘War on Drugs’ policies, though well intended, [are] spurring a proliferation of ever-changing exotic designer drugs and a disregard for constitutional protections in the name of eliminating drugs at any cost. Just think of no-knock warrants, stop-and-frisk, civil asset forfeiture and billionaire drug lords …state and federal agents are empowered to enforce laws with little to no regard for constitutional protections of individual rights, the sanctity of one’s home or the right to travel freely.
The time has come for a thoughtful discussion of the prudence of the prohibition approach to drug abuse, the impact of prohibition enforcement on constitutionally protected liberties and the responsibilities that individuals must take for their own actions.
Should we be concerned for our friends and neighbors who abuse a substance or activity? Yes, we should help them through sincere and voluntary engagement, but not with force and violence.
Is there a place for prohibition? Yes, a prohibition of aggression (Romans 13). Our laws should prohibit and penalize violent acts. This is the jurisdiction of the magistrates under the new covenant — harm to one’s neighbor.
Civil government should value everything God made and leave people alone unless they meddle with their neighbor.
As Reason magazine notes, “This is not just a brief against marijuana prohibition, or even the War on Drugs in general. It is a brief against using force to stop peaceful, consensual activity. … We need more Republicans like David Simpson.”