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Originally Posted by Ray Charles
To actually answer you question, no. If a sufficient amount of people got together to get rid of red meat and chocolate in their society I wouldn't argue with them. By virtue of them being the majority it would effectively be "their" society.
See, this where we seem to be having a difference of opinion. You seem to believe that if the majority thinks you need to do something or not do something then all they need for justification is a majority to agree. I think you need a little more than that, like something other than "that's just the way I think it should be and that happens to be the opinion of the majority." That's not a free society, that is the tyranny of the majority. You need to justify why people should be punished by the criminal justice system by showing what harm the prohibited action causes to warrant the prohibition and severity of punishment. The punishment should be equal to the harm, not greatly exceed it. The potential punishment in the case of marijuana far exceeds the potential harm to the user or to society.

That's in the eye of the beholder.
Indeed. That's the whole point. In a free society you can't legislate preference without just cause. You shouldn't be able to decide that chocolate or red meat is illegal without a better justification than it is not the preference of the majority. There's probably more reason to ban red meat than marijuana but even so I don't think either should be illegal.

Also I must say again that it's not "the government" that decides what's going on.
In the case of what drugs are legal or not it is the government that decides. The DEA administrator is not an elected official and he has final authority over drug scheduling regardless of what the facts may be.

I realize all that, but I don't see smoking marijuana as a protected right under the constitution.
It can be an wholly private consensual act. When alcohol was prohibited it took an amendment to the constitution to do so. Even then the private possesion or consumption was not prohibited, only production, sale and transportation. The current justification for the total prohibition of marijuana falls under interstate commerce. If you can grow a plant, dry it, and smoke it entirely in the privacy of your own home then it would seem that this kind of activity would have very little justification to be prohibited under powers to regulate interstate commerce. Instead you are not allowed to engage in entirely private activity because you "might" sell some of your weed across state lines. So instead of innocent until proven guilty you are assumed incapable of not committing a crime.

Even if marijuana is not fully legalized it should be more decriminalized than it is. There is no reason for someone who grows and consumes their own weed wholly in private to be considered a dangerous felon solely because they choose to grow and consume marijuana. If our drug laws are to make sense then this wholly private activity should be considered less of an offence to society than supporting the black market by purchasing marijuana at inflated prices from unknown suppliers which may lead to supporting criminals and organized criminal enterprise like drug cartels and terrorists. Even someone who grows small amounts but sells small amounts locally to friends and acquaintences should be considered far less of a criminal than the organized criminals who set up large commercial operations and protect them with violence and crime. If personal and small scale local non-ciminal growers were more tollerated then there would be less chance for large commercial criminal enterprise. As it stands we are still prosecuting even people who had a state medical exemption as criminal drug dealers and claiming that these people, who just want to aleviate symptoms of some medical condition, are somehow preying upon our children. This is already contrary to public opinion as access to medical marijuana is generally favored by 60%-80% of the population.

Public and Professional Opinion

There is wide support for ending the prohibition of medical marijuana among both the public and the medical community:

• Since 1996, a majority of voters in Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington state have voted in favor of ballot initiatives to remove criminal penalties for seriously ill people who grow or possess medical marijuana. Polls have shown that public approval of these laws has increased since they went into effect.

• A CNN/Time poll published November 4, 2002 found that 80% of Americans believe that “adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it. ...” Over the last decade, polls have consistently shown between 60% and 80% support for legal access to medical marijuana. Both a statewide Alabama poll commissioned by the Mobile Register, published in July 2004, and a November 2004 Scripps Howard Texas poll reported 75% support.

• Organizations supporting some form of physician-supervised access to medical marijuana include the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, the New England Journal of Medicine and many others.

• A 1990 scientific survey of oncologists (cancer specialists) found that 54% of those with an opinion favored the controlled medical availability of marijuana and 44% had already suggested at least once that a patient obtain marijuana illegally. [R. Doblin & M. Kleiman, “Marijuana as Antiemetic Medicine,” Journal of Clinical Oncology 9 (1991): 1314-1319.]

As to public opinion. The people who favor legalizing it outright are still in the minority however those who oppose legalizing small amounts were only a small majority and a clear majority believes that non-violent marijuana users should not be arrested and put in jail.

Last edited by pyramid; 01-29-2006 at 05:12 PM..
Old 01-29-2006, 05:09 PM pyramid is offline  
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