Self-inflicted Highs
by Brian C. Bennett

Sunday's Special Report was interesting, but it did not address the most important aspect of the issue ("Pot paradox," Page 1). Regardless of why someone chooses to smoke pot, the real question at hand is this: Why should any citizen be punished for doing something to himself?

Our politicians are making hay by claiming that we need to waste our resources pursuing people who choose to smoke the "wrong" plant -- not because these people are causing harm to others, but because they choose to intoxicate themselves in an "unapproved" manner.

In a nation of supposed equals, how are we individually empowered to punish other citizens for their self-directed acts? Marijuana certainly causes insanity -- but not among its users.

Another brief point: The law that has made cannabis a "Schedule I narcotic" is the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The original Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was declared unconstitutional. I still can't find anything in the Constitution that grants the government the power to punish people who do things to themselves.

Written Jul 25, 2003

Printed in Washington Times Jul 26, 2003 -- Archive link

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