By mocking the idea of lawful behavior, legalization of medical marijuana may be more socially destructive than full legalization.Will argues that legalization--even if for medical purposes--removes the stigma of using an illegal product, and more people will begin smoking pot. While this may or may not be true, it is completely irrelevant.
Will's premise is that pot smoking is destructive to society, and therefore should be banned. In other words, the welfare of society justifies prohibiting certain voluntary actions on the part of individuals. This argument has been used to justify all types of controls and regulations-- from zoning to nationalized health care, from bailing out banks and auto companies to "cash for clunkers", from environmental laws to bans on prostitution.
Underlying Will's argument is the morality of altruism--that the individual must serve others, that the individual must place the interests and welfare of others before his own interests and welfare. And, while smoking pot is seldom, if ever, in anyone's interest, this is a decision that each individual has a moral right to make for himself. This is what Will opposes--the right of individuals to make choices regarding their own life. Consider Will's own words regarding medical marijuana in Colorado:
Customers — this, not patients, is what most really are — tell doctors at the dispensaries that they suffer from insomnia, anxiety, headaches, premenstrual syndrome, “chronic pain,” whatever, and pay nominal fees for “prescriptions.” Most really just want to smoke pot.Smoking pot may be self-destructive, but it doesn't violate the rights of anyone. This isn't good enough for Will, or anyone who wants to dictate the actions of other individuals. Will and other prohibitionists believe that they have a right to determine what is good and bad, and then impose their value judgments upon everyone else.
(It shouldn't need to be said, but if someone smokes pot and causes an automobile accident, or robs a store, or murders someone, they should be prosecuted for those actions, but not for smoking pot.)
The fact is, actions that do not violate the rights of others--do not force others to act contrary to their own judgment--should be legal. This includes smoking pot, prostitution, gambling, and other "victimless crimes". If an action in which all participants are voluntarily engaged can be banned, then anything can be banned. If the "common good" allows government to control and regulate individual behavior, then all rights are destroyed. And in the end, that is precisely where Will's war on pot leads--to a war on individual rights.