Health

Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Marijuana

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Current drug laws may impede upon fundamental moral rights. Proponents of legalizing marijuana argue that Americans be given the right to use marijuana, as it may be a means of obtaining happiness.

The 1776 United States Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Issue

Many people seek affective (emotional) rather than cognitive benefits of marijuana, such as using it as a relaxant, a social lubricant, an antidepressant, or a palliative. For this group of people, one’s right to privacy, or otherwise described as a right to self ownership or self rule, is limited.

Our Legal Rights

There are those who argue that American’s have a right to engage in riskier behaviors than using marijuana, such as skydiving, boxing and mountain climbing. Users of marijuana have described it as a remedy for pain, depression, and a means to opening the door to creative thoughts, insights and experiences. Others say it increases self awareness, spirituality and potential for widening perception; in other words, their pursuit of happiness!

History

The United States government has tried to control the use of illicit drugs from the very beginning. Prohibition, for example, was a period of nearly fourteen years of United States history in which the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor was made illegal under the ratification of the 18th amendment.

During the time of prohibition, large numbers of prescriptions were written for alcohol use. This can be likened to the medicinal marijuana prescriptions readily available in certain states today. Prohibition led to the first and only time an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was repealed. Given this history, isn't it time to legalize marijuana?

The Question

What do you think? Should Americans be given the “moral” right to smoke marijuana?

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