Tomorrow marks 4/20, a day celebrated by proponents, but not limited to users, for the legalization of marijuana. In fact, just because someone advocates legalization does not mean one smokes. This is a dangerous misconception that has wrongfully silenced those opposed to the government telling you what you can do with your own body. Regardless of the isolation and mockery of advocates of legalization, more and more people are beginning to demand that marijuana first be decriminalized and then be legalized. It’s not a question of whether one does or does not support marijuana use; I personally do not endorse its use. Rather, this is a matter of principle, and of government overstepping its moral and constitutional boundaries.
The recent surge in legalization activism and the consequent relaxation of marijuana laws is founded upon two crucial pillars: 1. sound scientific and academic evidence; and 2. civil disobedience.
The marijuana debate has been raging for quite some time. It has typically been dominated by gross exaggerations, outright false claims, and statistical finagling by opponents, a feat that makes Climategate look insignificant. Surprisingly, most of this nonsense comes from the government and policy organizations who regularly panhandle to the government for more “funding” aka tax dollars.
What this essentially translates into is the propagandizing of science. The government says, “Give us some studies in support of our views. Give us more evidence that will enable us to continue the Drug War and the prison-industrial complex. And we’ll keep the gravy train flowing.” This “science,” however, has recently fallen apart.
Marijuana is, once and for all, being redeemed after years of derision and having the unfortunate disclaimer that even touching the plant will make you kill your whole family. It is useful most prominently as a pain reliever. Many people would prefer to smoke marijuana over taking OxyContin or other very addictive, pain-relieving opiates. While seeming contradictory, smoking marijuana is even being studied to fight lung tumors. Until now, these valuable facts have been considered anomalies by those unwilling to recognize its medical benefits. But that was then, and this is now.
Now that the medical and scientific communities have began to push themselves towards a more experimental policy with marijuana, the political establishment has been forced to listen. But much of this would fall on a deaf ear if it weren’t for the average citizen.
Marijuana is rightfully starting to be considered more socially acceptable (Disclaimer: I am not endorsing the use of marjiuana). After all, it does not induce its users to go on violent, drunken rampages, or decimate families in their cars. If the debate was framed strictly in a criminal framework, marijuana would clearly win. The number of crimes associated with marijuana is abysmal when stacked up to those associated with alcohol.
Moreover, as use increases, many law enforcement agents are left with a choice that they are unwilling to make: let the Average Joe get away with lighting up and be liable for what he does; or arrest and prosecute fully anyone who uses marijuana. Since it is clearly inconceivable to lock up everyone who has ever used marijuana, the laws have become much less punitive.
Because of the usually pleasant mood that comes with consuming marijuana, more people have begun to try it (Disclaimer: I am not endorsing the use of marjiuana.) Many may prefer marijuana to alcohol for a plethora of reasons, but in the end, it is personal preference. With a more marijuana educated and informed society, people have taken its use public.
What makes this legalization debate that much better is that it has been done peacefully. Academic and scientific debates, peaceful legalization rallies, and the lack of any “marijuana terrorists” proves that ideas and liberty really do trump coercion and compulsion.Published in