Do We Have The Right to Celebrate?

I believe the debate about legalization of marijuana will pivot around whether we have the right to celebrate life with intoxicants and I use the term loosely as marijuana has a very low toxicity when compared to alcohol or tobacco. The most compelling arguments against legalization are that we do not have the right to use intoxicants that are not accepted by the majority or authorized by a doctor. It’s as if there were some huge moral difference between using alcohol and marijuana. Some say that using marijuana makes people do stupid things, but doesn’t alcohol do the same thing to a larger degree? How many of you have heard someone say hold my beer and watch this, or seen or heard about people drinking and driving? How about people who drink and become mean or violent? From my experience, I would say that alcohol leads to far more violent and risky behavior than marijuana. I read a comment following a pro marijuana article and the reader said that if tobacco were not already legal, it would be impossible to get it legalized and I believe the same could said for alcohol. A large number of people believe that everything that is bad for us or perceived to be bad should be banned by legislation, that government is here to solve all the ills of society and to protect us from ourselves. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the objection is for moral grounds or just because they believe it is bad for our health or that we may endanger others. In fact a woman who is very dear to me recently told me that products like 5-Hour Energy should be banned because she had heard in the news about some young person whose death was linked to the product. Cities are passing legislation limiting our choices about where we can smoke, even forbidding smoking tobacco on personal property owned by the smoker. Other cities have passed laws against lemonade stands, home gardens, raw milk and laws limiting the size of sugary drinks we may buy. It is disturbing to me just how much support this type of legislation gets. I believe that the people who support this type of legislation do so believing they are helping us. The problem is that prohibition of marijuana causes more harm to society and the individual than the drug does just like the prohibition of alcohol did. Are we so bad at making personal choices that even as adults society must take those choices from us? Isn’t our freedom more important than that?

I do like the idea of our government giving us factual information to help us make better choices and I believe education is key to reducing many of the problems in society like, drug addiction, poverty and even health problems like diabetes and obesity. But I do not like the idea of a few elected officials making those decisions for me. If we are not allowed to make decisions about our own health and safety we are not free at all.

Throughout history people have used intoxicants to celebrate life and as long as we do so in a responsible manner, as adults, we should have that right. Consider the first recorded miracle by Jesus (JOHN 2:1-10) where he turned water into wine at a wedding celebration. Even that would likely be illegal today. Could a person make 120 to 180 gallons of wine today without a license and not get cross with the government. It would likely depend on where you live and who knew about it. The worst thing about the federal marijuana ban is they leave us no place to go. It is illegal everywhere. Even people in states who have legalized marijuana for medical purposes face opposition from the federal government. As long as we support that kind of interference in our lives it will continue. Inaction on our part is seen as approval. If we want to be free to make those decisions for ourselves we must speak out, and if our elected officials do not heed our desires then we must try to replace them with representatives who will. America is our home too and our freedom is just as important as anyone elses. Lets make 2013 the year for change. Call or write to your Congressmen, Senators and President, and tell them to restore our freedom and end the war against marijuana.

Randy Johnson