Colorado Attorney General John Suthers appeared on KLZ's Grassroots Radio Colorado Thursday to discuss his opposition to Amendment 64, which would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in Colorado.
One of Suthers reasons for opposing Amendment 64, which went unchallenged, struck me as unbelievably ironic, given Suthers hard-driving opposition to Obamacare, even suing on Colorado's behalf to stop it.
Suthers told KLZ listeners that he's worried about the broader social impacts that marijuana legalization would have on Colorado, saying:
Suthers: You know, in a libertarian utopia, everybody would suffer the consequences of their own choices, but in America, you're going to pay the emergency room costs, you're going to pay the costs of this guy dropping out of school, the public assistance cost, and unfortunately, the prison cost."
It's something worth talking about, but Suthers has been one of the leading opponents of Obamacare, which would provide health insurance to tens of millions of Americans who don't have it.
One of the overarching problems with having so many people uninsured is the social costs, which go beyond individuals getting sick, of course, and include everything from higher healthcare costs and lower economic productivity to crime and increased public assistance.
These types of things, which you don't find in a Libertarian utopia, worry Suthers when it comes to marijuana legalization. Yet he's apparently unconcerned about them when he's fighting Obamacare, because he offers no practical alternative to Obamacare.
As Suthers makes the media rounds opposing marijuana legalization, talk-radio hosts and real journalists might discuss these matters with him.
SUTHERS: I think we are going to see - we are seeing from medical marijuana and we'll see even more from legalization -- serious problems in our schools, higher dropout rates. And this is the society where we all pay for this. You know, in a libertarian utopia, everybody would suffer the consequences of their own choices, but in America, you're going to pay the emergency room costs, you're going to pay the costs of this guy dropping out of school, the public assistance cost, and unfortunately, the prison cost.
GUEST HOST CARISA ZGLOBICKI: Mmm-hmm. That makes a lot of sense. I was wondering if you could touch base on, you know, there's a lot of talk about the economic benefits of the Amendment 64, and I wanted you to see -- you know, hear your side on what that really means.
SUTHERS: Yeah, we'll take on some tax revenue. But keep in mind, to this very day, the tax revenues that we take in from alcohol pay for about 10% of the social costs we incur from alcoholism. And I think you can project pretty much the same with marijuana legalization, any revenues the government takes in will be a fraction of the social cost that will be imposed.