Ronald Reagan’s former associate deputy attorney general Bruce Fein, a member of the Just Say Now advisory board, appeared earlier today on MSNBC to make the conservative argument in support of allowing states to legalize and regulate marijuana.

When Cenk Uygur asked why Fein is supporting efforts to legalize marijuana, Fein’s response was simply that the current policy has proved to be a costly failure and needs to be re-examined.

There is an obverse to the proverb “if it’s not broken don’t fix it,” but if it is broken than you need to try to fix it. And I think at best you can describe the last 40 years and trillion dollars as an incomplete success. We see the marijuana trade fueling the drug cartels in Mexico, the incidence of drugs has really not been dented.

We think that after 40 years of spectacular failure and more than a trillion dollars, it’s time to let the states experiment with their own control. Stop squandering federal resources on this, and devote more to real national security issues.

Fein acknowledges that ending the prohibition against marijuana is a conservative position in the same way ending the prohibition against alcohol was conservative. It is getting the government out of people’s lives and

It is trying to scale back the role of federal government to a proper scope and limit to what its Constitutional duties and obligations are, and it is going to yield, I think, a vastly improved landscape than what we have as of present.