Reagan-appointed Judge Richard Posner calls marijuana prohibition ‘really absurd’

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, September 7, 2012 17:36 EDT
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Judge Richard A. Posner. Photo: Screenshot via YouTube.
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Judge Richard A. Posner, a Chicago law school professor and Reagan-appointed jurist on the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, said Thursday that the criminalization of marijuana is “really absurd,” explaining that he sees no difference between the currently-criminalized substance and cigarettes.

“I don’t think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have,” he said, speaking to an audience at Elmhurst College in Illinois. “I think it’s really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana. I can’t see any difference between that and cigarettes.”

Posner added that he’s also “skeptical about the other drug laws,” saying it’s not “sensible” to apply criminal law to solve the problem of addiction.

Of course, the irony in Posner’s comments is that he was appointed by a president who went down as one of the nation’s most charasmatic drug warriors ever: President Ronald Reagan, who once declared that he was convinced “smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”

Later in his speech, a wide-ranging talk on the troubles posed by the interaction of capitalism and democracy, Posner went on to say that President Barack Obama’s auto-bailouts were “a very good thing” because they saved so many jobs, but added that the healthcare reform bill “probably impeded recovery” somewhat because it created uncertainty in the markets.

The respected conservative jurist made headlines recently when he declared to National Public Radio that he’d become “less conservative since the Republican Party started acting goofy.”

This video was published to YouTube on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012.


(H/T: Lawyers.com)

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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