The Henley Theorem: The absence of law begets law, and law always sires more law.
Colorado is now proving the case, as will Washington State, whose legislatures are busy trying to figure out how to regulate what has been deregulated, namely recreational use of marijuana.
"This is a big day because all our lives we've been living behind the iron curtain of prohibition," declared a weed warrior quoted in The Huffington Post after her state's voters had decided to deregulate marijuana. "The whole world sees that prohibition just took a body blow," declared the lady celebrating her freedom from the gulag.
Actually, what the "whole world" will now see is proof of the Henley Theorem.
"Now that the celebratory haze has settled, state officials and marijuana advocates … began sifting through the thorny regulatory questions that go beyond merely lighting up," said a New York Times story a month after the vote. The report dealt with meetings to establish a task force to explore "ways of efficiently and effectively implementing" the state's legalization of marijuana use, according to Governor John Hickenlooper's chief legal advisor.
Hmmm… "legal advisors" have to do with writing laws. "Efficiently and effectively" deregulating marijuana will be to the legal system what chunks of fresh meat are in an ocean of sharks.
First is the licensing of pot-farming, pot-processing, and pot-selling. Each piece of the process will require regulatory items. How will recreational marijuana retail shops be secured? What should public health officials do to address hygiene and health concerns on such sticky points as whether the marijuana is smoked or eaten?
Next, the taxing authorities will hop into the haze. How can jurisdictions harvest new revenue from the growers, processors, and sellers?
More regulations will be needed "to address standards and safety issues with the drug's quality," noted the Telluride Daily Planet. The concerns were enough to trouble people selling medical marijuana, already legal in Colorado prior to last November's vote. Their biggest fear is that authorities "will over-regulate it," said a medical marijuana dispenser quoted in the Daily Planet. "We have enough paperwork to do already," he fretted.
Regulations have been developed by the Colorado task force that would support marijuana-tourism. The laws, says The Denver Post, have had to address how much weed a non-Coloradan can buy, as well as how to keep a visitor from jumping store-to-store to accumulate enough cannabis to sell on the black market.
Whole new opportunities have opened for bureaucrats to haul their briefcases to Washington, Denver, or Olympia, where they will live off their taxpayer-provided expense accounts while they negotiate agreements with the federal government, whose Controlled Substances Act still says marijuana is illegal. These noble ventures for freedom will doubtless produce new laws and regulations to pacify all parties concerned.
Those new laws will all be part of the hocus-pocus by which the delusion of freedom is maintained for those who no longer have to live behind the "iron curtain" of marijuana prohibition. But for people whose life passion is to get high, the delusion must be preferable. A Bible passage haunts me: "for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie." (2 Thessalonians 2:11 NKJV)
The lie in this case is the belief that deregulating marijuana is a new freedom, and that the "iron curtain" has collapsed like the Berlin Wall.
Martin Luther once spoke of "the Babylonian captivity of the church." In contemporary times it's "the Babylonian captivity of the culture." "Babylon," in the Bible's prophetic symbolism, is the anti-God world system. It maintains its delusions through "sorceries." (Revelation 18:23) "Sorcery," in New Testament Greek, is "pharmakeia," referring generally to "enchantments," but also to "potions" and drugs.
So welcome to Babylon, where joyous ex-prisoners of the iron curtain gulag frolic in the delusion that makes them believe they are truly free at last, and that the Henley Theorem does not apply to them.