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Happy 4 20

April 20, 2012

Although I have never tried marijuana myself, I believe marijuana prohibition to be one of the most damaging laws currently enforced. I don’t like how marijuana makes people stupid and lazy. I don’t like to see people spend their whole lives looking to get high. It seems like a waste, but the cure is far worse than the disease. As bad as it is, drug addiction can be overcome, and people can still lead successful lives and do drugs, just ask our last three presidents. Furthermore, decriminalizing marijuana does not seem to increase its use, which undercuts the entire justification for the laws. If prohibition doesn’t lower use, what good is it?

Legal
When the Federal government decided that it didn’t like alcohol consumption, it passed a Constitutional amendment banning it. When the Federal government decided it didn’t like marijuana consumption, a normal law was deemed sufficient. I am virtually alone among those who study the Constitution, in that I place a great deal of weight on the 10th Amendment, which reads “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Short and sweet. Does the Constitution say that the Federal government has the power to regulate drugs? No. Then guess what? It doesn’t. The FDA, in my opinion, is unconstitutional. The DEA is unconstitutional. If states wish to place restrictions on various drugs, I disagree with them, but I would view it as constitutional.

Political
According to a Gallup poll, over half of people think marijuana should be legalized. Even more hopefully, those most opposed are over 65. A policy might be able to survive being opposed by 50% of the population, but what if it’s 60% or 70%? Especially with medical marijuana gaining ground, I think it is only a matter of time before marijuana prohibition falls apart. How many thousands must die of diseases that could have been treated by marijuana before people admit it has medical uses? If I told you “there’s a drug which can cure brain cancer, but it makes you feel horrible when you take it“, people say, “ok, let’s have it.” But because the drug makes you feel good while it cures your disease, it’s illegal?! What sense does that make?

Societal
The majority of Americans have tried marijuana. A drug with such high demand will find a way to get to the consumer, one way or another. After decades of killing and imprisoning thousands of drug dealers and producers, the flow of marijuana to users is still going strong. Prohibition simply transfers the gains from trade from legitimate businesses to criminals and thugs. Young men are drawn to the relatively high wages of drug dealers and away from legitimate employment.

America has the largest prison population in the world, by a wide margin, and it is in large part because of our thick-headed insistence that drug consumption is better dealt with by throwing people in jail for 20 years than it is by getting them help to cure the addiction, when all that does is destroy their lives even further and push them away from society. By putting tremendous amounts of money in the hands of criminals, marijuana prohibition encourages corruption in our police forces and civil forfeiture abuses. Drug prohibition is a cancer that is eating away the fabric of our society and our legal system.

Conclusion
People are people, and they always will be. People are flawed, and they give in to temptation, and they make mistakes. But isn’t it better to try to correct those mistakes, rather than destroying their lives? Is harsh vengeance really a necessary reaction to a victimless crime? I think it’s time to start looking at drug users as human beings.

The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.
Portia, The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1

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