Kurt Schlichter has a piece over at townhall.com about building a "bite me" coalition. I recommend you go read it.
But it got me thinking: what he's really talking about is a Tenther coalition. Shrink the Federal Government. Let the States decide for themselves. Let the People decide for themselves. It's a highly Libertarian Tenther coalition, to be sure, since it's focusing on even shrinking State and Local governments, but I could get behind that.
However, whenever we start talking Libertarian policies, we inevitably talk about "the war on drugs." And, inevitably, someone suggests "just letting the States decide."
As a Dedicated Tenther, I think I need to address some points here- and they're applicable across the Tenther movement.
1) There is a role for the Federal Government.
Advocating for small and limited Federal Government is not the same as advocating for no Federal Government. The Articles of Confederation were scrapped for a reason. The EU, which is built on an even shakier confederation, is reeling from one crisis to the next. A strong Federal Government is necessary for many things.
2) The States' powers and privileges are not sacrosanct.
This is a corollary to number 1. Wherever the State's powers and privileges conflict with the Federal Government's, the States must take second place. If they don't, we're back to that whole "Articles of Confederation" thing. That didn't work out so well.
3) The Default must be Personal Rights
It's easy to get caught up in the Tenth Amendment as being empowering to the States, but the 9th and 10th amendments were designed to be empowering to The People. The People were supposed to have more control over their specific states, so granting greater rights to the State was supposed to be safer. I point to Colorado and New York for how that's going. We must remember that the Power rests with the People; it is delegated to the States and then to the Federal Government.
With those in mind, along with the common knowledge of the 10th Amendment, I propose a Tenther's view of drug policy.
1) Federal drug policy should be as permissive as possible. Allow it to be imported, place an import duty on it, require it to meet certain standards, etc. It's getting in anyway, and this would lessen the strength of the black market (though not the strength of the drug growers).
2) State drug policy can be as restrictive as that State wants. Full legalization for California? Go for it. Completely illegal to posses, transport, or sell in Oklahoma? Sure.
3) Personal responsibility must be paramount. If you can't get a job because you're a drug addict, that's not my problem. Not one dime from the public treasury should be spent on you. Got high and killed someone in a car wreck? I'm sorry, "being high" is no longer a mitigating circumstance, it will now (by law, if I had my way) be an exacerbating one. Sharing needles so you caught some horrible disease? Sucks to be you, my friend. (For the record, this is how I feel about alcohol and tobacco as well)