Yesterday, the drug store chain CVS announced that it would no longer sell tobacco products. The move drew sharp reactions and generated controversy, for and against. President Obama took time away from his busy schedule of campaigning, golfing, and vacationing to praise the decision. As predictable as the sun rising out of the east every morning, some conservatives took the opportunity to attack President Obama and proceded to look like fools in the process.
One of the conservatives (the term is used loosely in this case) that chimed in on this pressing controversy was Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He tweeted, “Many of the same people applauding #CVS for not selling tobacco are ok with making it easier to buy and smoke pot. #makesnosense”. For starters, it appears Senator Rubio is not familiar with the difference between the private sector making a business decision and government policy. CVS can choose whether or not to sell tobacco products. If customers have a problem with this decision they can shop at another retailer. However, if someone wants to buy and consume marijuana, they may go to prison under current laws. I understand this is a difficult concept for Senator Rubio to grasp, but it is entirely consistent to applaud a private company’s decision to no longer sell tobacco and to oppose throwing people in jail for smoking a joint. Some people just don’t believe that it is the role of government to tell people what they can and can’t put in their bodies, while at the same time being fine with and in fact applauding a private company that refuses to sell a product that kills its consumers when used as directed.
While Senator Rubio’s tweet was utterly moronic, a fact that was not lost on the good folks at Twitchy, that was not the dumbest conservative reaction to CVS’s decision. That award goes to Washington Times editor Emily Miller for this. Miller who previously claimed marijuana legalization in Colorado was a part of Obama’s cultural legacy while warning of the impending collapse of civilization because Colorado legalized marijuana has been on an anti-marijuana crusade. The 21st century’s Carrie Nation accused Obama in her Facebook post of “encouraging marijuana use”. Except President Obama has publicly said marijuana use is not very healthy so how can that be construed as encouraging marijuana use? Finally Emily can relax, Obama has no desire to change marijuana policy.
Conservatives need to learn the difference between the private sector and the public sector. Just because libertarians and others don’t believe in throwing people in jail for doing something or banning something does not mean we want to encourage its use. We simply don’t want the government to play mommy and daddy to 300 million Americans. I thought conservatives believed in individual freedom?