More than 847,000 individuals are arrested per year in America due to repressive marijuana laws.
It is puzzling to me that it is legal to purchase, distribute and consume alcohol and tobacco, yet marijuana remains a criminal substance. Roughly 50,000 people die from alcohol poisoning and 400,000 due to health complications attributed to tobacco usage every single year.
Marijuana has yet to take a single life. According to the medical journal The Lancet, marijuana causes no harm to an individual’s health.
In reality, “no acute lethal overdoses of cannabis are known,” according to an article in British Medical Journal by M.D. Steven Sydney.
That begs the question: What reasons are there for prohibition of the consumption, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana?
If the reason is due to the intoxication one undergoes through the smoking or baking of marijuana — the “high” — we also must consider alcohol and tobacco, which are quite legal and also alter the consciousness of the consumer. This contradiction, coupled with the arbitrary punishments, should no longer be bearable for the American people.
As a modern society, founded in logic and reason, our public policies should reflect our views. According to NORML.org — the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws — 25 million Americans admitted to having smoked marijuana. Those 25 million Americans represent a significant minority, and their concerns should be of concern to our government.
Throughout America’s history, our predecessors have established our rights as citizens, and we — the citizens of this country — have been bound by necessity to fight for our freedoms. American society has maintained that we have a right to live under rational law that protects the self from the acts of others. And, we have made explicit our convictions that the rule of law has no jurisdiction in personal matters that don’t affect others in an invasive manner. Therefore, the consumption of cannabis — at no cost to anyone but yourself — does not present a rational justification for a stringent set of laws and regulations that prohibit you from doing so.
To be clear, decriminalization would simply allow people to cultivate and possess small amounts of marijuana. We aren’t talking about legalizing the drug trade. Drug dealers won’t be free to roam the streets anymore than they are today. We are talking about a small step in the right direction. We are talking about progress.
Although the question of whether or not marijuana should be decriminalized appears to revolve around the argument of whether or not marijuana is harmful, this is not the question that lies at the core of this issue. The discussion of whether or not marijuana should be decriminalized is more closely associated with whether or not an individual should have the right to choose whether or not they want to consume marijuana. You are not free to consume marijuana, and you should be, because the state does not have the right to do make that choice for you.
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind.” – Bob Marley
APril 9, 2010
The Oklahoma Daily
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Marijuana laws oppress us all