Libertarians Rally to End Drug Prohibition
by Ari Armstrong
[The following article originally appeared in the June 2000 edition of Colorado Liberty.]
It must come to an end. That's what Libertarian Michelle Konieczny said of drug prohibition to a crowd of around 120 on Saturday, May 6 at the "Millennium Marijuana March." Other Libertarians held signs and handed out literature at the event, held on the steps of the State Capitol. Konieczny and Dr. Shawn Elke Glazer gave rousing speeches, encouraging participants to get active in the Libertarian Party's efforts to end the drug war and restore civil liberties damaged by that war.
Glazer and Chuck Wright, both running for the Colorado legislature as Libertarians, provided quotes for a May 7 article by Dan Luzadder in the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado's largest newspaper. Wright said the drug war often results in heavier prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders than for rapists and murderers. Dr. Glazer said, "I'm not allowed to even talk about the potential benefits of marijuana to my medical patients Ñ like nausea control for cancer patients Ñ because of the hysteria about the drug."
Laura Kriho is a hero in libertarian circles for her efforts to defend the rights of jurists. Kriho also spoke at the rally.
Konieczny drew cheers and applause when she reminded the crowd that Libertarian Presidential candidates have promised to pardon non-violent drug offenders if elected. Almost 10 people registered Libertarian at the event, while scores more took LP flyers and voter registration forms. Party members also handed out hundreds of flyers at the Cinco de Mayo celebration taking place in the park near the Capitol. "End the drug war Ñ vote Libertarian," they said. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive.
Jack Woehr of the Colorado Hemp Initiative invited LP members to speak at the event. Christie Donner of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center also spoke, as did Laura Kriho, considered a hero in Libertarian circles for her efforts to defend jury rights.
Representative Penfield Tate, a Democrat, suggested the legislature should "study" the drug war and sentencing policies. But Libertarians see the harms of drug prohibition as obvious and severe and call for its immediate repeal.