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Up in Smoke

A professor in Arkansas with a distinguished perch speaks up in defense of drugs.

12:00 AM, Aug 5, 2002 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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BRADLEY R. GITZ writes a weekly column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and on July 25, 2002, his thoughts turned to drug legalization. Observing that Great Britain and Canada are considering decriminalizing marijuana, Gitz applauded and launched into an argument for legalizing mary jane here in the States. Gitz, a take-no-prisoners libertarian would like to go a good way further, too, saying, "Even those in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana tend to preface their arguments with the assertion that so-called hard drugs should remain forbidden. But on what logical basis? That they are 'bad' for us?"

It wasn't the first time Gitz shilled for reefer. In January, he wrote that drugs are "more often than not, and when used in moderation, no more harmful than a bottle of Miller Lite." And in November 1999, he helpfully reported that "many responsible citizens still use [marijuana] regularly . . ."

His byline says that Gitz "teaches politics at Lyon College in Batesville," but that's much too modest: Gitz is William Jefferson Clinton Professor of International Politics at Lyon. The chair was established in 1993 when an anonymous donor committed $500,000 to honor the president. What was he smoking?

Jonathan V. Last is online editor at The Weekly Standard.

Gone Fishing: We're on vacation the rest of the week, so after today we'll be posting previously subscriber-only material from this week's big double issue. Stay tuned.

-JVL