Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Report from the Legalize Marijuana Debate

Michael Edelstein did an awesome job in the debate, where he took a completely libertarian position in favor of the legalization of marijuana. It was a total anti-state position, no weasel room to appease any statists in the crowd. This is how libertarians should debate.

I added my two cents worth during the Q&A by getting Michael's opponent Martin Nemko, who declared himself to be a "moderate" Democrat, to admit that he was against marijuna use, even though some people use it to relax, and that he was also in favor of banning cigarettes and alcohol. With a bit more prodding from me, he went on to admit that although he was mostly against marijuna because it was damaging to health, he was in favor of "some" government wars, which I pointed out to him, often results in the killing of innocents, who weren't making a private choice to be killed, unlike marijuana users, whom he wanted to ban from using marijuna out of the "concern" for them, because it might cause health issues for them in the distant future. He told me my position was "too black and white."

Michael told me that his basic framework for the debate came from a very important book written by Michael Huemer  The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey.

The debate was recorded and as soon as the youtube is up, I will post it here at EPJ.

Before the debate, I had a chance to talk to Michael, who is originally from the same Brooklyn neighborhood as Walter Block. He told me he was converted to libertarianism by Walter after they were introduced to each other by a mutual friend, because they both liked to play chess.


Michael told me that he once attended a debate between one time lover of Ayn Rand, psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden, and Albert Ellis, who was a psychologist who developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Rand also attended the debate and sat in the audience. At one point, she became so outraged by what Ellis said during the debate that she stood up and lashed out at him.


Michael also told me that when Murray Rothbard taught at Brooklyn Polytechnic, he occasionally attended Murray's lectures there. He told me that Hans Hermann Hoppe also sometimes attended.


Michael told me that in his book,Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, he includes his email address so that people who read the book can email him with any questions they have. So go at it gang.


  1. "The debate was recorded and as soon as the youtube is up, I will post it here at EPJ."

    Can't wait to see that, Bob!

  2. If anyone is interested to see it, Nemko has an article on his blog (which I am busy tearing apart for my blog) about prohibition of Cannabis:

    Or, you could just watch Reefer Madness...pretty much the same intellectual experience. He does make one decent observation in it regarding the heavy tax burden:

    "Already in Colorado, because marijuana is taxed at 29 percent, a black market already is burgeoning, in which you can buy pot for--you guessed it--29% less. And as with all sin taxes, you can bet the tax rate will only go upward from 29%. For example, in most states, the taxes (federal, state, and sales) on a pack of cigarettes exceeds 100%!.) Of course, the higher the tax rate on pot, the bigger the black market. And with marijuana legal only to people over 21, the black market and its unsavory types will, of course, as I mentioned, simply refocus its marketing toward children. Delightful!"

  3. Bob,

    Did the video ever become available for you to post? I am really interested in seeing this!