George W. Bush in 1999: Let States Decide Medical Marijuana Laws

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I distinctly remembered that Bush said something back during his first presidential campaign about leaving medical marijuana laws up to the states. After Clinton’s horrendous crackdowns in California, I recall thinking Bush’s stance on this, along with his “humble” foreign policy promises, was a reason I quietly rooted for him against Gore. I imagined on civil liberties and war, as well as economics, he’d be slightly less bad. And here it is,in Washington Post article from 1999: “Campaigning in Seattle on Saturday, Bush answered questions about medical marijuana laws by saying, ‘I believe each state can choose that decision as they so choose.’”

Of course, we know President Bush has raided marijuana dispensaries in violation of the 10th Amendment. While I do believe federalism is an improvement, and the correct Constitutional position on these issues, I must admit I am somewhat more skeptical of “states rights” conservatives than I used to be – they almost always end up favoring centralizing power in the end, whether we’re talking about some of the anti-Union hypocrites who sought federal protection of slavery and then centralism within the Confederacy, or today’s politicians who never seem to apply federalism consistently, especially once they have federal power.

(I do still believe anarchism and libertarianism generally imply decentralism, however, but libertarian decentralists tend to be much sounder all around, including on federalism, than conservative decentralists.)

7:49 pm on June 22, 2008