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Why I Fight for Marijuana Legalization

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Why I Fight for Marijuana Legalization

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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Hood Collective came out to Delta-9 House & Studios to film that short video above. I was only reciting the Preamble to the Constitution because it’s something I do for a microphone check instead of “check… check… one… two…” It’s a parlor trick anybody who is Gen-X can do from childhood memory. The hard part is not singing it.

It’s remarkable what you can remember through the use of music as a mnemonic device. To this day, from memory I can tell you that following the death or incapacity of the president, the vice president, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate President Pro-Tem, the cabinet secretaries’ line of succession to the office of the presidency runs through the departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, HHS, HUD, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security, all because one day my high school government teacher, Mrs. Rosenbaum, taught us the “S-T-D, J-I-A, C-L-H-H, T-E-E” song (I’m old enough that there were no VA and HS departments in the line of succession back then).

To the point…

I fight for marijuana legalization to protect the Constitution of the United States.

I know that sounds grandiose and these days there are far greater threats to our constitution. However, I believe that marijuana prohibition in the 20th century was kind of a trial run on the unpopular and powerless for the enemies of our constitution to size up how much more surveillance, seizure, corruption, and malfeasance from our government we would put up with.

In Order to form a more perfect Union.

Marijuana prohibition means the degree to which some sick and disabled Americans must suffer is determined by their zip code. No American should be denied their unalienable right to life because their state accepts the government’s fraudulent prohibition of cannabis.

Fraudulent, I say, because the Supreme Court decisions such as Gonzales v. Raich should be accorded the same respect as other misjudgements, such as Dred Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson, or Bowers v. Hardwick. The idea that the Interstate Commerce Clause gives Congress the power, through the Controlled Substances Act, to ban someone from growing small amounts of cannabis for personal medical reasons, engaging in no commerce and remaining wholly within her state, means, as Justice Thomas argued in his dissent, “the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.”

To establish Justice.

The 8th Amendment provides that we shall not endure “cruel and unusual punishment.” How can any sane person think the imprisonment of a citizen for cultivating a non-toxic houseplant is anything but unusually cruel?

The 4th Amendment guarantees freedom from “unreasonable search and seizure.” How can the mere smell of an herb empower the state to violate our privacy?

To insure domestic Tranquility.

By definition, prohibition gives rise to crime. We cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. We’ve seen the violence that arose from the criminal prohibition of alcohol. It remains the only amendment we’ve had to repeal.

We also live in a stressful society. Over-reliance on alcohol and pills to reduce our stress is causing disastrous results. The more access there is to an herb known to produce calm, tranquil effects is a benefit to our nation.

To provide for the common defence.

So long as our economy is dependent on fossil fuels, our national defense is at risk due to our dependence on unstable Middle East nations. Hemp provides one answer for reducing our need for foreign oil, as a renewable source of biodiesel and biodegradable plastics and building materials.

The farming of hemp can be carbon neutral if processing is close enough to manufacturing to reduce shipping distances. Climate change is an existential threat to our national security. New technology in hemp fiber processing promises a revolution in battery technology that can make wind, tidal, and solar power far more economical.

To promote the general Welfare.

Securing our citizens access to cannabis would go far in promoting our general welfare, from addressing the opioid overdose crisis to providing thousands of new jobs in a burgeoning field, in addition to all the medicinal benefit provided to sufferers of numerous ailments.

Ending prohibition would also address the denial of religious comfort to practitioners like Rastafarians who believe cannabis (“ganja”) is a sacrament given to them by their Creator.

To secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

Our Declaration of Independence states that we were “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;” “among these” telling us there are many other unalienable rights.

Our 9th Amendment holds that “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

How could our Founding Fathers, with their agrarian economy and love of booze, not have understood sowing crops on one’s own land and using the harvest to alter one’s mood to be unalienable rights not enumerated yet vital to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

And for Me The People, it’s personal.

I’m a tall, intelligent, able-bodied, middle-aged, cisgender, heterosexual, white American male. I’m just a Bible short of winning the Privilege Decathlon. When I was denied my golden ticket up the ladder of corporate success because a test of my armpit hair revealed the presence of marijuana metabolites, it was the first time in my life I had ever experienced any sort of discrimination. Like a superhero origin story, from that day I vowed I would use my powers of privilege to ensure nobody ever again had to be harassed, searched, prejudged, disqualified, arrested, jailed, or killed over marijuana.

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4 Comments

Russ, you are so on-target with this piece! Thank you for being a true radical–in the sense of getting to the ROOT of the issue. The war on drugs has always been, of course, a war on people and it can only be waged by violating the basic principles of a free society and the basic human rights of the citizens. The drug persecution functioned as a Totalitarian Trojan Horse, establishing one after another the legal pretexts that empowered the government to spy on, entrap, and incriminate the populace for non-harmful personal behavior, and then amplifying the intimidation by means of advanced electronic technology along with unprecedented Gestapo-style police terrorism. Back in 1983, I wrote: “The drug prohibition campaign is a dual menace: it provides a scapegoat instead of a solution for genuine problems, and it serves as a disguised way to strip American citizens of those inconvenient old 18th century relics–personal freedom and individual rights.” The drug war has accustomed Americans to the practice of treating ALL persons as “suspects.” It has incorporated into our laws and our corporate culture the vicious legal fiction of hemp as a dangerous, addictive, immoral substance. The real immorality has been in the hypocrisy and cowardice of our political leaders and mass communications media; the true danger has been in the transformation of a formerly free society into a high-tech surveillance state with an enormous Gulag-like prison-industrial complex; the most disabling and degenerate addiction we struggle with is to try to “fix” every perceived threat and every social maladjustment by resorting to coercion and violence. You are an eloquent and articulate voice of reason, please keep speaking truth to power as we approach a political point of no return in the destiny of our country and our planet.

Good article! – I don’t know how many times some tunnel-vision prohibitionist has responded to a post of mine with: “We get it. You just want to get high.”

As if wanting to get high were some grand, moral failing – which, of course, does not apply to those who consume the ‘officially approved’ recreational drug alcohol. – That they want to get tipsy, buzzed, faded, gassed, hammered, juiced, loaded, lubricated, ripped, or just ‘warm and fuzzy’ – is somehow not a moral failing.

What they certainly don’t get are the larger reasons you have given and why most of us work in marijuana reform. I think this is best epitomized by the example of Professor Julian Heicklen. –

He never smoked, or cared about, marijuana. But when he retired in 1998, he decided the most important thing he could do was to lead marijuana smoke-outs at the Gates of Penn State, every Thursday for more than a year. Of course, he was arrested several times. When asked why he was doing this, he replied:

“Marijuana is the messenger, not the message. The issue is whether we will live in freedom or in tyranny!”

Most people are under the impression that medical marijuana only negates your pain, depression, spasms, insomnia, etc by getting you “high”. I use mmj and it has so much CBD and CBG and very small percentages of THC, that it would take an enormous amount to get stoned. I had never engulfed in illegal marijuana, so I am basing this on my new experiences. Yes, I have an altered body state. Nothing compared to my horrific state while on opioids. Not looking back, only forward to a natural, relief, finally, from my health problems. It is a shame I have to be registered as if I were a sexual deviant or other type of criminal to be able to treat myself. I feel as if my First Amendment rights are being trampled on daily. Keep up the good fight.

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