Pubdate: Sun, 31 Oct 2004
Source: Juneau Empire (AK)
Copyright: 2004 Southeastern Newspaper Corp
Author: Joanna Pippenger
Cited: Proposition 2 ( )
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Ravin v. State)
Bookmark: (Alaska)


The political philosopher, John Stuart Mill wrote: "The only purpose
for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a
civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.
His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.
He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be
better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in
the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right."

I agree with Mill. He echoes the views of our founding fathers. I also
agree with our Alaska Supreme Court Justices, who are sober and
serious-minded people, not "hop heads" or outsiders. In Ravin v.
State, our Supreme Court looked at the legitimate concerns about the
effects on society of the individual use of marijuana. The court
concluded that these societal concerns are insufficient to justify
unlimited government intrusion into the rights of an adult to
privately consume marijuana. It also concluded that the state of
Alaska did not have the right to prohibit marijuana use in the home.

However, according to Mill, and I believe our founding principles,
marijuana should be legal for an adult to buy, own and then use in
their home if they so choose.

Interestingly, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew cannabis on
their plantations and cannabis was sold over the counter for personal
use. In fact, marijuana was a legal commodity in the United States
through much of our history.

The fact is that concrete scientific research has shown that marijuana
is less dangerous than alcohol. Now alcoholism causes cirrhosis of the
liver, and the reason we know this is due to scientific research
demonstrating cause and effect. No scientific study has found that
marijuana has such extreme health affects and the evidence is to the

To prohibit marijuana but not prohibit alcohol is inconsistent with
Mill and our founding principles. Proposition No. 2 is about the
rights of an adult citizen and the limits of government in a free
society. Vote yes on 2.

Joanna Pippenger

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