Despite the fact that federal law still bans the sale and use of marijuana, Colorado has legalized it, bypassing its own state legislature by way of a citizens’ ballot initiative. Residents over 21 can now grow up to six plans and purchase one ounce at a time. Visitors can buy up to a quarter of an ounce, but not cross state lines with it. Washington State will soon follow suit, although in a more limited way, banning home growers and capping overall production at 40 metric tons.
What does Natural Law Say?
Clearly, no positive law can make right what violates the natural law, the law written by God on the human heart and known by reason. Reason clearly tells anyone with an interest in looking at the data that pot is deleterious to health, causing serious cognitive and long term mental issues among enough users to impact the public good. It is also a known gateway drug, leading to more serious drug abuse. To boot, it is also a potent cause of lung cancer. Cigarettes bad, pot good? Seriously?
By any sane measurement widespread pot use is against the common good. Its use is strictly for intoxication and the dimishment of mental capacity.
The Case for Pot
The countervailing arguments come down to these:
- Nationwide pot sales put money into the hands of criminal organizations.
- Creates jobs.
- Create tax revenues on the $400 million in expected sales, generating $67 million in taxes.
- The harm wrecked on the lives of a large number of users will not impact society in any important way.
- The state has no role in preventing people from destroying “their own” lives.
These arguments are specious. Legalizing any criminal activity will create jobs and generate tax revenues, it will also cut into criminals business revenues. So?
Response to Utilitarian Drug Arguements
Are we as a nation so blinded by utilitarian considerations that we are happy to ingore the elephant in the living room: legalizing anything makes it more social acceptable and more widespread. Law is the form of civil leadership. Once abandoned, its role in promoting a sober use of legitimate natural goods leads to greater and worse ills. The lives destroyed are real, important and their loss as productive members of society and responsible family members will effect us all. It will give a boost to the drop out culture already too prevelant.
If is the job of the law to educate, instruct and uplift society from its more self-destructive tendencies, what can be said of a law that says the Mile High state is now literally the high state as well?
Colorado’s Mile High Pot Mistake
The whole consenting-adults-only-hurting-themselves argument, ignores that we are a people – not some collection of unrelated individuals. That if we are encouraging by law a larger percentage of our population to become less productive, less useful, and yes potentially more violent members of society, we are putting the whole concept of freedom at risk.
Historically, travelers to countries with a wide and open drug culture find populatins that are passive and weak in so many social and cultural ways. One may say it is unfortunate, but why would anyone say it should be promoted and imitated here? And if it does increase tax revenues for the state, won’t they have a vested interest in promoting it? What kind of mixed messages will we be sending to young people?
Obviously, the president has decided that this is one more federal law, he will not enforce, even though he is the sworn executor of law in the United States. There is no point in inflaming the issue here further with a photo of a young Barrack Obama smoking Marijuana. Perhaps the old saying, as the twig is bent, so the tree grows applies here.
The Role of Responsible Freedom
We have been given freedom so we can responsibly comply with our duty. If freedom becomes license, it will quickly lose its meaning. And, since errors come in pairs, the alternative to such counter cultural, libertarian laissez fair thinking will be an overreaching tyranny. There may be a middle way on the drug issue that avoids both life sentences and the let-them-fry-their-brains approach. A change of heart is needed in the country to regain the sensible center on this issue.