Opinion: Kinky Friedman’s drug legalization platform does more harm than good


Political elections are an excuse to throw your valuable time and money away and to follow the endless debates of how a certain policy would be better for our society. When the word “politics” pops up in any conversation, immediately the top dogs come to mind. Republicans and Democrats are not the only groups out there aiming to better the government one policy at a time.

Currently, politics brings to mind the Texas governor election. Richard “Kinky” Friedman, a singer, songwriter and novelist, is considering to run for Texas governor once more. He previously ran for governor in 2006 against six other candidates. He lost the race in fourth place with about 12 percent of voters cheering him on.

Friedman claims that to solve Texas' state budget problem, he would legalize casino gambling. He also wants to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. His belief is that through the legalization of gambling and marijuana, the revenue and the taxes collected off of them will rid Texas of any kind of taxing for about 30 years. Thirty years of no taxes would surely win the favor of every Texans’ heart, yet what stood in Friedman’s way seven years ago?

"His brand of libertarianism might appeal to some Republicans who don't like the social conservatism of the party's more conventional candidates," political science professor Adam Schiffer said. "But when push comes to shove, a vast majority of libertarian Republicans will vote for the Republicans rather than a third-party candidate; otherwise, they know they risk having the Democrat win."

Although this method of reducing the state budget problem might sound completely reasonable, it brings up the issues associated with the pros and cons of legalizing a drug. Drug legalization should never be an option. Yes, in the case of medical use—meaning in moderation—a drug may be prescribed. However, the legalization of a drug would just throw our society to a hungry pack of high wolves. On the other hand, the number of drug cartels could very well decrease. Legalization of marijuana could rid Texas of the marijuana dealers and clean our streets just a bit.

"Friedman is always entertaining," political science professor Jim Riddlesperge said. "Of course he makes a living by being in the public eye. I doubt he can match the support he had in the past. His candidacy will allow voters to express frustration and in a close election, could affect who the ultimate winner might be." 

Both professors do not think Friedman has a very positive outcome in this race. Friedman's views are out there and far from winning the majority vote against the major parties.

"Third-party candidates seldom win gubernatorial races, though it has happened in a small handful of states," Schiffer said.

Yolanda Mashni is a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Fort Worth, Texas.