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Steve Kubby: Liberty, Leadership and Libertarianism

We live in an unfree world that desperately needs our Libertarian principles of free choice, free markets and free minds.   Unfortunately, we have been competing in election campaigns against the major parties in what can best be described as the equivalent of entering NASCAR racing events — with pathetic little peddle cars.  All that changes when we leave the election arena and enter the voter initiative arena.

What is needed is a Libertarian initiative, that strikes at the root cause of one of government’s greatest public policy failures, the war on marijuana.  I believe that means nothing less than full and complete repeal of all laws against marijuana and permanent removal of marijuana from California’s list of controlled substances.

Although I publicly supported Prop. 19, I had to hold my nose whenever I did so.  From my perspective, it was a horrible scheme that would have certainly invited a harsh response from the federal government, resulting in a lot of innocent people being arrested, prosecuted and sent away for long sentences in federal prisons.  Frankly, my only concern was that Prop. 19 get as many votes as possible, because I was convinced from the beginning it could not win.

From a libertarian perspective, the “legalization” offered by Prop. 19, based upon a capricious administrative tax and regulate scheme, is nothing less than a fraud.  That’s because people are induced to vote for new taxes and jump through arbitrary administrative hoops on the false belief that their money and compliance is buying them protection from arrest and prosecution, when nothing could be farther from the truth.  In reality, Prop. 19 did not remove a single cannabis crime from the books, nor would it have released a single prisoner.  Instead, it created new crimes, penalties, and even prison time for those who fail to comply with state tax rules or administrative regulations, while providing evidence for the feds to prosecute and imprison thousands of new victims.

In contrast, we need a Libertarian voter initiative that repeals all cannabis laws.  Of course, some will argue that striking all the state cannabis laws will create anarchy, but we already have the anarchy of unregulated black markets and drug war violence.  Besides, we can argue that federal law is still in effect, and that all we have done is removed state penalties, which we can’t afford to enforce anymore.  If the Feds think marijuana prohibition is such a great idea, then let them assume financial responsibility for enforcing their own laws, with their own resource and officers, but not with any help or cooperation from California.

As a Libertarian initiative, we propose no new taxes and strictly prohibit any taxes other than sales tax.  We remove all existing laws and severly limit the legislature to the wine model for determining any future laws or taxes.  Furthermore, we provide serious penalties for anyone who cooperates with federal authorities to override our initiative.

If Libertarians decide to official sponsor this initiative, we will have a stunning, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show Leadership, create Liberty and promote Libertarianism. Instead of getting skunked on election day, we will be making history and showing the world what we Libertarians are capable of.  If you think about it, our initiative is no more about marijuana than the Boston Tea Party was about tea.  It’s about Liberty.  We just need to add the Leadership and Libertarianism to make it a home run.

The initiative we are working on will finally allow the LP to compete on a level playing field.  Finally, we can take the lead and win.  This is not rocket science. The formula for us to follow to success is simple.  We know that we need to poll high enough to ensure victory, before we decide to qualify our initiative for the ballot and we know we need professional signature gatherers to get the job done.

If you’d like to become a part of this historic campaign, please visit our FaceBook page at:

About Post Author

Bruce Cohen

Real Estate, Bicycles, Espresso, Coffee, Chocolate, Jewelry, Tomatoes, Politics, Israel


  1. Porn Again Christian Porn Again Christian February 21, 2011

    Legalize it and I will advertise it!

  2. paulie paulie February 21, 2011

    I want to get rid of the machine.

    In the meantime, I also want short term achievable goals, getting to which involves work within the machine.

    So, work on both.

    Attack the walls from both inside and out.

  3. Gains Gains February 21, 2011

    SW @14: “If you get rid of the machine, you won’t need to fight, educate, or ask permission. That was my point.”

    I get it. 🙂 I also think that a successful fight takes place on all fronts.

  4. Steven Wilson Steven Wilson February 21, 2011

    I appreciate the argument for fight the good fight. I have heard it many times at NORML meetings.

    If you get rid of the machine, you won’t need to fight, educate, or ask permission. That was my point.

  5. paulie paulie February 21, 2011

    Gains, thanks for having the patience to write that.

    I meant to, but I’ve been feeling burned out.

  6. Gains Gains February 21, 2011

    SW @10: “If you legalize now, it will be doomed to be a cash cow for programs.”

    And what do you call the price of pot now? Un-taxed? Not a cash-cow for criminals, and cops alike?

    The gray market mark-up on marijuana is about 400% in places with liberal MMJ places. In places where prohibition is in full force, the markup is significantly higher. That markup is a direct result of law, and is a tax as far as I am concerned. It just doesn’t go directly to government, it goes to violent criminals and their corrupt cop partners.

    The forfeiture laws… those are also a tax in any reasonable definition.

    Are impaired driving check points, where poor people who are late on their vehicle registration have their last assets stolen from them and sold to fund a politician’s pet project, a tax? I think the are.

    I think that the drug war and more generally the enforcement of Victorian age morality through force is an abomination as great as any tax. As the amoral justification for many taxes, it may be a deeper and more important root issue than taxes alone.

    What kills me is this artificially tying of one evil to another to create an impenetrable shield against the reduction of government. There is no intricate web of social connections that make freedom impossible. Am I really supposed to wait until there is no corporatism or fascism before I can work to free people from the manacles of fascism and corporatism?

    When you say that there is no freedom going into the machine, I reply that you it well be true on its own but there is no freedom without going into the machine as well. I cannot rightly project your personal philosophy, but the feeling of your post makes me want to proactively state that Nihilism is philosophical masturbation to me. I would rather fight, educate, and change what little or much I can than wallow in the meaninglessness and futility of it all.

  7. paulie paulie February 21, 2011

    legalize now

    Good idea 🙂

  8. Steven Wilson Steven Wilson February 21, 2011

    If you legalize now, it will be doomed to be a cash cow for programs. Taxation by vice is standard procedure for both D and R. If you legalize now, there won’t be any talk of amount grown or type. There will be one question asked, “how much do we get of it?”

    You legalize now, and there will be a corporation from Pharmacology (K street) within one month.

    There is no freedom in going into the machine in order to control the machine.

  9. paulie paulie February 21, 2011

    Riffing off Andy’s question, Why 50 pounds?

    Personal weekly limit 🙂

    Just kidding. This is a good idea. Hope you are getting a lot more than just Libertarians involved, it will take a lot more than that to make it happen.

  10. Andy Andy February 21, 2011

    Incidentily, SAFER is planning to do another statewide marijuana initiative in Colorado for 2012 and there is another group in Washington that wants to put one on the ballot in 2012 as well.

    The reason that I bring this up is because there could be competition for donations from people who support marijuana legalization with similiar issues running in different states. A lot of people will only donate to something in their state, but there are others – including some national organizations – who will donate to efforts in any state. If there are marijuana initiatives running in other states at the same time that are also trying to raise money then this effort in California could be hitting up some of the same potential donors as the efforts in other states. I’m not saying that the money can’t be raised, I’m just bringing up that there could be competition.

  11. Andy Andy February 21, 2011

    “Steve Kubby // Feb 21, 2011 at 5:55 am

    This initiative is a serious effort, involving some very high level Libertarians. Despite the title, I am confident that once you read the text, you will find this to be the most Libertarian initiative ever proposed.”

    Cool! I am definitely interested in being involved with this effort.

    I remember back in 2006 that there was a marijuana initiative on the ballot in Colorado and there was another one on the ballot in Nevada.

    The proponent of the one in Colorado was a group called SAFER ( ) which stands for Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation. This initiative was pretty radical. The text of the initiative was just one sentence. It said something like, “It shall be legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijauan.”

    The proponent of the initiative in Nevada was MPP ( ) which stands for Marijuana Policy Project. They are based in Washington DC and this was technically a Nevada affiliate that went under a different name, but it was MPP that funded and ran the campaign. The text of this initiative was pretty long. Like the one in Colorado, it also made it legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, but the text of this initiative took up several pages and had all of these provisions about taxing and regulating marijuana.

    I don’t know how much either of these campaign spent on advertising (although I suspect that the one in Nevada spent more money) but they both ended up losing in the polls. They each did get 40% or more of the vote. The initiative in Nevada got a s higher percentage of the vote than the one in Colorado, but it was only slightly higher.

    My point in bringing this up is that the initiative in Colorado was more radical while the one in Nevada was more watered down (from a libertarian perspective) , yet when it down to the vote results, there wasn’t that big a difference between the percent of YES votes that each initaitive received. There are other factors involved such as how much money did each campaign spend on advertising, and I do not know this, but if I had to take an educated guess I’d say that the one in Nevada spent more on advertising (especially in ratio to the population of each state) than the one in Colorado.

    This tells me that there isn’t necessarily any great benefit in watering down a marijuana initiative. Most people fall into one of two categories, either think that marijuana should be legal, or they think that it should not be legal. I don’t think that most people are going to fall into a category of something like, “I think that it should be legal only if it is taxed at (x) rate.” Most people who want it to be legal just want it to be legal, they don’t care so much about the details. Most people who want it to be illegal just think that it is something that is bad and should be illegal, they aren’t likely to be swayed into thinking that it should be legal if it is taxed at a certain rate.

    Given these facts, it seems to me that if you are going to run a marijuana initiative, you should do one that is more on the radical side.

  12. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi February 21, 2011

    Riffing off Andy’s question, Why 50 pounds?

  13. Steve Kubby Steve Kubby February 21, 2011

    This initiative is a serious effort, involving some very high level Libertarians. Despite the title, I am confident that once you read the text, you will find this to be the most Libertarian initiative ever proposed. Our initiative allows up to 50 pounds and 99 plants, BEFORE any taxes or regulations kick in. And it wipes all those horrible marijuana laws completely off the books. We even have a clause that allows us to charge and have removed from office, police, legislators, public officials who deny us our right to buy, sell, grow, transport and consume cannabis.

    Read the full text at:

  14. Andy Andy February 21, 2011

    I agree with what Steve Kubby said here and I’d love to see such an initiative get filed and actually qualify for the ballot, but why is the facebook page called Tax Marijuana? Taxing marijuana is not a pure libertarian position. I can certainly understand the arguement that allowing marijuana to be purchased legally with a tax added on to it is better than locking people in prison for marijuana, but I’m just suprised that after Steve pointed out that Proposition 19 was not libertarian enough that the facebook page for this new proposal has the word tax in it. If they are just suggesting that the sales tax which is already being collected in California be applied to marijuana purchases then I suppose that is better than creating a new more oppressive tax along with a bunch of new regulations that would only apply to marijuana, but I’m just pointing out that the pure libertarian position is that marijauna should be legal and there shouldn’t be any taxes or regulations on it.

    Is there a legitimate plan to raise money and actually qualify this initiative for the ballot and to try to get it passed, or is this just blowing smoke (pun intended)?

  15. paulie paulie February 20, 2011

    If at first you don’t secede, keep trying.

  16. NewFederalist NewFederalist February 20, 2011

    What ever happened to secession?

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