CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – 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.”