The Right Move: Why Republicans Should Start Supporting Marijuana Decriminalization

AP Photo/Hans Pennink

Republicans and conservatives, by and large, are growing to accept the idea that marijuana should be decriminalized. However, some high-profile GOP politicians are still clinging tightly to the notion that the government should be empowered to punish people for selling or consuming the plant. Nevertheless, many on the right are recognizing that this is not only a violation of rights but also a foolish position to take politically.


In a recent shift of his stance, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed his opposition to federal decriminalization of marijuana during a campaign stop in South Carolina.

In 2016, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana, and DeSantis had previously supported its implementation. However, now that he is running for president, the governor seems to be projecting a tough-on-crime image and emphasizing his opposition to illegal drugs, including fentanyl:

During his event in South Carolina Thursday, DeSantis took a question from someone in the audience who claimed to be representing “a couple of broken veterans, veterans with service-connected disease, illness and injury.”

“We are saying please, please will you decriminalize marijuana in 2025?” the individual asked.

“I don’t think we would do that,” DeSantis said. “But I think what I’ve done in Florida is, we have a medical program through our constitution that the voters did and so the veterans who are in those situations in Florida, they’re actually allowed access. It’s very controversial because obviously there’s some people that abuse it and are using it recreationally.”

DeSantis continued, bringing up fears of fentanyl, which has killed tens of thousands of Americans. “This stuff is very powerful now that they’re putting on the street,” he insisted. “And when these kids do it, it’s really bad for the youth and I just think we have to be very united as a society. We want our kids to stay clear of drugs and we don’t want to do policies that’s going to make it have easier access for them. You don’t even know what they’re putting in some of this stuff now because you have things like fentanyl that can wind up… and you can die just by ingesting that.”


Still, a majority of Americans – including Republican voters – want the government to decriminalize weed at the federal level.

“A new national poll shows that more than two-thirds of Republican voters support efforts to reform cannabis policy at the federal level. The poll showed that 68% of voters likely to cast a ballot in a 2024 Republican presidential primary or caucus support ending the federal prohibition of cannabis. The poll, which was commissioned by the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR), also showed that 70% support a state’s right to take the lead on cannabis legalization.”

Another poll conducted in 2020 analyzed attitudes regarding then-Sen. Kamala Harris’ proposal for decriminalizing the plant. This one also showed that a majority of Republican voters favored the idea.

I’ll be blunt (pun intended): There is absolutely no valid reason for the government to dictate whether someone is allowed to consume or sell marijuana. The notion that the state should be allowed to send men with guns and badges and throw people in cages over a plant should be anathema to any conservative or libertarian. Still, DeSantis and plenty of other Republican politicians seem to believe they know what’s best for us dumb plebes.

Let’s take the fentanyl argument first. The opioid has been placed into marijuana, but it is not the most common way people unknowingly consume it. Mostly, it is laced into methamphetamine, heroin, and other hard street drugs. This is because, in powder form, fentanyl resembles these drugs more than pot.


If weed was decriminalized, it would greatly lower the risk of marijuana users accidentally consuming fentanyl because it would be sold by legal vendors, which would likely be regulated by local and state governments.

Next, we have the children!

This argument against marijuana has always vexed me, considering that nobody believes kids should be consuming the plant. They also shouldn’t be consuming tobacco and alcohol either. We already have laws against that. When weed is decriminalized, it will be the same deal. Nobody is advocating in favor of minors smoking the ganja, folks.

There are more reasons why conservatives and Republicans should support the decriminalization of marijuana.

Decriminalization of marijuana aligns with core conservative principles of limited government intervention and individual freedoms. Supporting this policy change allows Republicans to champion personal responsibility and empower individuals to make choices regarding their own well-being. By eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana possession, individuals can avoid unnecessary life-changing legal consequences over a plant.

Moreover, decriminalizing marijuana would allow law enforcement to focus on actual crimes – behavior that threatens the rights of others. Resources are finite, and redirecting them toward addressing more pressing issues can enhance public safety. The current enforcement of marijuana laws often diverts valuable resources and strains the criminal justice system. By decriminalizing marijuana, Republican politicians can do more to promote “law and order” by tackling serious crimes that actually have victims.


Last but not least, if Republicans support decriminalizing weed, it will help them immensely politically. By doing this, they can shed the perception that conservatives are more concerned with locking up people they don’t like than they are with justice and public safety. Moreover, they will finally be in line with what the rest of the country wants instead of playing a nanny government game in which they schoolmarm people about smoking marijuana while they roll a joint behind the scenes.

Don’t look at me like that. You know these people smoke weed while telling us we can’t!

Overall, liberty means that people can make their own decisions about what to put into their bodies. The state has no business policing people’s personal morality. Hopefully, it does not take much longer for the GOP to realize that.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos