Two notable Congressmen -- Barney Frank and Ron Paul -- have jointly, as it were, introduced legislation to repeal the federal ban on marijuana, and leave its legal status to the states, so the on-line Houston Chronicle reports.
This story struck me, not only for its intrinsic interest on this hotly debated topic, but because it comes out on the same day as another story to which I shall presently refer.
One of the principal arguments for legalizing marijuana is that, by doing so, we can tax it, thus increasing government revenue at a time of considerable need, and simultaneously reduce the violence that often accompanies the illegal drug trade. If we treated marijuana like the painkiller it is said to be, and made it available at the pharmacy, as other painkillers are, we could put an end to the gunplay with which illegal drugs have become associated.
The idea that violence will end with legalization is most appealing. It depends, however, on the tacit assumption that the sort of people who seek drugs are really just law-abiding citizens unjustifiably if not irrationally labelled as criminals.
As I say, this notion is appealing. It's just not so reliably true.