The debate on how much power the government should have over controlling what its citizens eat, drink, and smoke is a tense one, to say the least. I have previously argued that the government should be concerned with what its citizens ingest, as a matter of protecting public health of both the consumer and those around him or her. But it’s a more complex situation that many people make it. Pace some libertarians, I believe government should exert some power, but pace some big government liberals, I don’t believe said power is “all-encompassing.”

For example, one instance of the government properly exerting power is the founding and operating of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has protected American consumers from countless instances of tainted food and drink.

And while there are many instances of the government improperly exerting such control, perhaps the most glaring is its making marijuana illegal. That’s the topic of a new article by Jonathan Miller, who writes that there is a compelling scientific, economic, and moral case for the legalization of marijuana:

Legalizing cannabis would enable our government, as well as our society, to better reflect universally-shared moral values, such as compassion toward the sick, justice in our legal system, and economic opportunity for all. … as a matter of public policy, our focus shouldn’t be on the private morality of individuals who choose to smoke pot, but on the public morality of the nation. And the beneficial impacts of legalizing marijuana — for our neighbors who struggle with serious illness; for our heavily-burdened system of criminal justice; and for the job creation and economic opportunity it would bring to our nation — would only serve to strengthen America’s moral fiber.

I am in full agreement.