"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Marijuana: Why Government is the Problem

Over the years various government and private studies have concluded that the laws prohibiting the cultivation, sales, and use of marijuana causes more harm than good. Some nations, as well as several states of the United States, have either passed medical marijuana laws or decriminalized the possession of small amounts of that substance. But what has been the response of the federal government (fedgov) of the United States? It has continued to prosecute the federal anti-marijuana laws.

Presently, in California, the fedgov is going after medical marijuana dispensaries which are perfectly legal under state law.

President Jimmy Carter, in a message to Congress, dated August 2, 1977, said the following: "Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use." Congress ignored President Carter.

Other nations have come to the logical conclusion that marijuana should be made legal to consenting adults or, at the very least, de-criminalized.

“We believe … that the continued prohibition of cannabis jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians much more than does the substance itself or the regulated marketing of the substance. In addition, we believe that the continued criminalization of cannabis undermines the fundamental values set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and confirmed in the history of a country based on diversity and tolerance.” Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. 2002. Cannabis: Summary Report: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy. Ottawa.

"We accept that cannabis can be harmful and that its use should be discouraged. However, ... we do not believe there is anything to be gained by exaggerating its harmfulness. On the contrary, exaggeration undermines the credibility of the messages that we wish to send regarding more harmful drugs. We support, therefore, ... reclassify[ing] cannabis from Class B to Class C ... [so that] possession of cannabis would cease to be an 'arrestable offense.'"  British House of Commons Home Affairs Committee. 2002. Home Affairs Third Report. British Home Office: London.

"The Commission, after reviewing the most up-to-date body of medical and scientific research, is of the view that whatever health hazards the substance poses to the individual, ... these do not warrant the criminalization of thousands of Jamaicans for using it in ways and with beliefs that are deeply rooted in the culture of the people. ... Accordingly, the National Commission is recommending that the relevant laws be amended so that ganja be decriminalized for the private, personal use of small quantities by adults." Jamaican National Commission on Ganja. 2001. A Report of the National Commission on Ganja. Office of the Prime Minister: Kingston.

"Following detailed consideration of the different options, the Federal Commission unanimously recommends the elaboration of a model which not only removes the prohibition of consumption and possession, but also makes it possible for cannabis to be purchased lawfully. The model should not be one of free availability, but instead should include clear provisions for the protection of the young and the prevention of all potential adverse consequences of legalization." Swiss Federal Commission for Drug Issues. 1999. Cannabis Report of the Swiss Federal Commission for Drug Issues. Swiss Federal Office of Public Health: Bern.

And it goes on. Other nations, several states, and many independent studies have all concluded that marijuana should be decriminalized. But, again, the fedgov forges ahead in its war on marijuana.

U.S. Attorney, Laura E. Duffy (Southern District of California) is going after people who rent buildings or land where dispensaries sell or cultivators grow marijuana. Now, newspapers and other media outlets could be next. Ms. Duffy is one of the four U.S. Attorneys in California committed to this program.

Here is one of the hypocritical things that she had to say: "I'm not just seeing print advertising, I'm actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It's gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate – one has to wonder what kind of message we're sending to our children – it's against the law."

Why is that hypocritical? Because there are ads for alcohol and tobacco that children see every day. Which I will get to in a bit. The main point I wish to make here is Ms. Duffy’s statement that “it’s against the law.” So what? The law does not equal justice.

For example, once it was the law that women could not own property in their own names. Their husbands or a male relative had to own it. It was once the law that women could not vote. It was once legal in the United States to own people—slaves. Congress passed laws to that regard and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld those laws. It was LEGAL, but it was not justice.

The present anti-inalienable rights, drug war laws are also unjust. The principle of inalienable rights dictates that adults own, and own completely, the very basic property of their bodies and minds. They get to use said property as they wish, just so long as they do not violate the rights of others in so doing. Almost all drug users, except in the case of alcohol, do not violate the rights of others with their drug use. Does the government have the legitimate right to stop them to protect them from themselves? No. Not unless you believe the government owns your body and mind.

The drug war laws enforce specific moral beliefs. That’s the same as “establishment” of a religion, which the First Amendment prohibits. There is no legitimate Constitutional power for the fedgov to force one person’s moral/religious beliefs upon a non-believing other. That is the tyranny of legislating morality. And tyranny is not too strong of a word.

Our laws should be secular, only. If a person’s behavior is non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, done alone or among consenting adults; does not disturb the peace; does not create a public nuisance, and is done privately, that is, not done openly in public, especially if done on private property, then that is the inalienable right of all adults.

Compared to alcohol, the presently illegal drugs rarely cause violent crime merely from their use. (Click link and scroll down to paragraph 25.) Marijuana has never been linked to any deaths from its use, unlike alcohol. (Click link and scroll down to paragraph 6 and 17.) Although, there may have been some deaths related to marijuana, the number would be incredibly low. Another source places the actual deaths from the mere use of the presently illegal drugs at approximately one-tenth of one percent of the number for all deaths. And for this, we are fighting a never-ending, multi-billion-dollar per year, anti-rights drug war that has made felons of millions of our fellow citizens.

It is well-known that almost all of the violence surrounding the presently illegal drugs is caused by the prohibition of them.

So, the fedgov is being extremely hypocritical in waging its so-called war on drugs, which is actually a war on the rights of otherwise peaceful, honest citizens, almost all of whom moderate their drug use, just like most alcohol users moderate their consumption.

But why, all things considered, is the fedgov attacking the medical marijuana dispensaries in California now? I have my theories and they revolve around what is called the “Prison-Industrial Complex.” There are hundreds of thousands of people involved in arresting, prosecuting, imprisoning, and guarding people for drug related behavior, most of which does not violate the rights of others (a true definition of a crime). Then there are the prison builders, prison suppliers, private prison owners, and so forth. The war on drugs and the prison-industrial complex has made the United States the number one jailer in the world.

The prison-industrial complex has a lot to lose—billions of dollars and thousands upon thousands of jobs. These people feel that this medical marijuana thing might just wake people up to the fact that marijuana is much less harmful, overall, than alcohol and tobacco, and that could lead to a drive to completely legalize marijuana, and that would lead to a huge hit to the prison-industrial complex. Ergo, lobby the fedgov—quietly, of course—to start using the fedgov laws to shut down what the people in California, and other states, have voted to make legal. Can we spell tyranny any other way?

Yes, in the United States we are free. We are free to do whatever the government allows us to do. It’s the law . . . but it is not justice.

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