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Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Supports Marijuana Legalization

Justice John Paul Stevens
Photo of Justice John Paul Stevens


Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Supports Marijuana Legalization

In an interview with NPR’s Scott Simon last week, retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said he believed the federal government should follow Colorado and Washington’s lead and legalize marijuana.

“An increasing number of states are legalizing marijuana. Should federal law?” asked Simon.

“Yes,” Stevens replied, laughing. “We may have just made some news.”

“I really think that’s another instance of public opinion [that’s] changed,” continued Stevens. “And recognize that the distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction.”

“This is a man who dedicated his life to studying and protecting the Constitution. For 35 years he defined the law of the land. And he believes the law of the land should allow for the legalization of marijuana,” said Law Enforcement Against Prohibition executive director Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), adding “Does anyone have the Justice’s number? We’ll have to ask him to join LEAP.”

The parallels between the two prohibitions are many, though in actuality, the prohibition of alcohol was more similar to a decriminalization scheme as we think of it today in the United States, since minor use and possession of the drug were not prosecuted.

“Now that he has retired, Justice Paul Stevens has stated forthrightly that we should regulate and control marijuana.  He has stated what tens of thousands of other government officials believe, but are constrained from saying publicly,” commented LEAP speaker Judge James P. Gray (Ret.).

Which other influential people would you like to come forward to support legalization? Tell us in the comments below!

Republished with special permission from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition



  1. Den

    April 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    “Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that “commerce” included the mere possession of a good or some personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana.”.. but Stevens disagreed with that. ..(sorry for three posts.. my attempts at cutting and pasting did not work very well..)

  2. Den

    April 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Stevens in “Gonzales v. Raich” upheld the federal position that it had the right to prohibit and regulate individuals rights to grow an herb in their backyard gardens under the guise that it could negatively impact interstate commerce.. how utterly absurd. The opposing opinions sanely noted that

  3. Den

    April 28, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    People have short memories.
    I find it somewhat disingenuous that AFTER judges and presidents no longer hold office, THEN they vine out in favor of legalization. If they had any gonads, they would have actually done something when they had the power to do so. Stevens in

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