Federal Judge Richard Posner: It's 'Really Absurd' That Marijuana Is Illegal

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The respected jurist and scholar made his comments during a lecture in Illinois.

U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner, one of the most respected legal minds in America, and one of the most cited in legal scholarship, says that marijuana use should be legal. "Personally, I don't think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have," he said during a lecture earlier this month. "I think it really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana." He went on to express skepticism about various other drug laws, and questioned the notion that the actual problems associated with narcotics are best addressed via the criminal-justice system, especially given the unprecedented number of people we're jailing. His whole speech is here; skip to the 54 minute mark for the comments on drugs:



Remember that next time a politician laughs off a question about legalization as if it's a joke that no one should take seriously.

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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