…and it says so right in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Sounds pretty good to me:
Life = Your life and health are your own, and do not belong to the government.
Liberty = You are free. Free to live and work for yourself and make your own decisions without harassment from anyone else. You don’t need anyone’s permission for this.
The pursuit of happiness = You are also entitled to “play” or enjoy yourself. You don’t need anyone’s permission for this either.
These are for everybody (“all men”) and they cannot lawfully be taken away (“unalienable rights“). This one sentence is probably the best-known statement of basic human rights.
So what does any of this have to do with marijuana?
The clear statements above, plus the right to privacy that the Supreme Court has already decided is implied by the Constitution, effectively say that your own choice of life, health, and happiness are up to you and are your business…not the government’s.
Life and health relate to the use of medical marijuana. Clearly, everyone has the right to obtain safe and effective medicine to keep themselves alive and healthy. Many people can’t get relief from their problems from anything but medical marijuana, due to allergies or side effects on ineffectiveness of FDA-type drugs. Our bodies have natural receptors for the dozens of medical compounds (cannabinoids) in marijuana, and it’s possibly the safest medicine known to science, because nobody has ever died from using it.
“I want people to decide what medications they can take, whether they can drink raw milk, whether they want alternative medicine, whether they can use marijuana when they are sick. We shouldn’t depend on the Government for that guidance” — Congressman Ron Paul, R-TX
That’s right. We have the right to our choice of medicine as well. You know…”right to choose”…that’s the same principle.
It’s not just medical marijuana supporters that are fighting this right, though, it’s everyone. The FDA has taken action against many suppliers of alternative medicine, vitamins, and mineral supplements, and attempted a number of times to control basic food supplements in a way that would make them far more expensive or even illegal without prescription.
Feeding The World
But not everyone in the world is so fortunate as to be able to even worry about medicine, because their higher priority is affordable food that will keep them alive. With the economy the way it’s been lately, more Americans are likely to be in the same predicament. For them, another facet of the same plant comes into play: hemp and its seeds.
Of the 3 million plus edible plants that grow on Earth, no other single plant source can compare with the nutritional value of hempseeds. Both the complete protein and the essential oils contained in hempseeds are in ideal ratios for human nutrition. Only soybeans contain a higher percentage of protein…By itself, widespread use of hempseed food protein could save many of the world’s children now dying of protein starvation! An estimated 60% of all children born in Third World countries (about 12-20 million a year) will die this way before reaching five years of age. — The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer.
Is it moral to keep people from such an important food plant, especially when it is drought-tolerant and will grow in even the poorest soil? Certainly not, although it had been used as food for millennia worldwide until the U.S. spread its hysterical anti-marijuana laws around the world.
Happy Happy Joy Joy
Finally, we have the pursuit of happiness. This is recreational use of marijuana. And, just like with medical usage, we have the natural right to use any substance that won’t harm us.
Alcohol, tobacco, and many other drugs are legally sold with the full approval of the U.S. Government, despite the fact that they are known to be harmful, addictive, deadly in many cases, and cause unintended consequences (such as date rape, drunken driving deaths, cancer from second-hand smoke, etc.).
Based on harm alone, there is no moral right for allowing these, and there’s also no moral right for the government to prevent the use of marijuana when it’s been proven harmless. In the state of Alaska, the privacy right alone has been held to allow people to possess and use marijuana (there’s also a right to privacy in California’s constitution).
But Wait, There’s More…
…to the Declaration of Independence:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
I don’t want anyone to think that Old Hippie is advocating armed revolution, because I’m not (hey, I’m just quoting the Founding Fathers). But the second part of that sentence does say to me, “Next time around, we need more 420-friendly people in government.”
So make sure you’re registered to vote, and then vote!