Because I Say So
Religions commonly make obviously false assertions—resurrection, transubstantiation, personal immortality—because it wouldn't be enough of a test of loyalty to ask believers to believe in something that was likely or even possible. I think the tenacity with which police and courts cling to outlawing pot has a similar rationale. How would it demonstrate the unquestionable power of the state to outlaw behavior that everybody, including criminals, knows to be wrong? You might as well have a plausible religion. What fun would that be? Which is why the more evidence accumulates for the relative harmlessness or even medical value of marijuana, the more the authorities will resist legalizing it. Of course they may eventually lose that fight. If so, I predict they’ll find some other practice of equivalent triviality and outlaw that, particularly if it is associated with minorities since the other great function of unreasonable laws is to provide a pretext for keeping the nigras down.