Pubdate: Thu, 11 Oct 2012
Source: Daily Athenaeum, The (U of WV Edu)
Copyright: 2012 The Daily Athenaeum
Author: David Moran
Note: David Moran is the Libertarian candidate for West Virginia Governor.

W.VA. Gubernatorial Candidate


The issue of criminal penalties for the use of marijuana is one of 
the most sensitive issues that we face in our state. There are no 
easy answers that satisfy all sides and opinions on this issue, but 
there are some compelling facts that we should all consider in 
proposing decriminalization of marijuana.

First, marijuana is a naturally growing plant almost everywhere. 
Except for the drying process, it is primarily a natural substance in 
our nation. Current laws which make possession and use of marijuana 
illegal fly in the face of its natural presence in our environment.

Second, the use of marijuana is a self-decision process, whether for 
medical or medicinal purposes or for personal pleasure. It is 
appropriate for our state and national public health services to 
provide and publish all public health issues associated with the use 
of marijuana, but not to discourage its use through legislation. All 
detrimental aspects of the use of marijuana should be made public and 
the background research provided openly to all citizens.

Numerous states and communities are sanctioning the use of marijuana 
for medical purposes. This creates a difficult situation where 
individuals have to obtain medical prescriptions for specific and 
often unidentifiable diseases while the drug is still illegal in 
other states. Given the benign character of marijuana use, this is 
inappropriate discrimination.

Often the dangers to the public of marijuana use such as driving 
impediments, public nuisance, abnormal social behavior, etc., are 
claimed as justification for maintaining illegal use status for the drug.

These arguments sidestep the real issue, namely that we are all 
responsible for our conduct in society all the time, regardless of 
what drugs we use or avoid, and we are all responsible for our 
driving and any other social function that might bring harm to 
another. The prosecution of any individual for any crime against 
another citizen must be pursued equally regardless of the underlying 
cause. We are all responsible for our actions at all times.

The criminalization of the possession and use of marijuana has led to 
the prosecution, fining and/or incarceration of citizens who are 
guilty of no crime, have caused no damage to society, other citizens 
or their property, and may have their future lives ruined by an 
innocent transgression of inappropriate laws. Our prisons are packed 
with people who have done no harm to society. The use of marijuana is 
a self-inflicted process. All self-decided activities that have no 
influence upon others must be removed from the criminalization process.

Our courts and law enforcement officers have better things to do that 
search for and arrest marijuana users. There are real criminals in 
this nation that cause harm to all of us, and they are the ones upon 
whom our attention should be focused.

Let me make clear that I do not advocate or promote the use of 
marijuana, and I would continue to encourage sound research and 
publication of detrimental effects.

I also denounce the promotion of use to any other individual. And I 
denounce the sale of any drugs including marijuana to any minor or to 
any person who is legally, mentally or socially unable to make his or 
her own personal decisions. The violation of these laws must receive 
full prosecution. But your personal use is your own decision.

As Governor, I would promote the legal public sale and taxation of 
marijuana as a luxury consumable product, and I would promote the 
adoption of significantly high taxation on its sale and use. It is, 
after all, a nonessential product in our world ... we can all get 
along quite well without it.

The Libertarian philosophy is that "We all have the intrinsic right 
to live in any way we wish as long as our actions have no adverse or 
detrimental effect on any other human or inhibit their rights to free 
life." This is a good and sound credo for life, and it applies well 
to the use of marijuana.

Now, get back to your studies. After all, that is why you are here at 
the University.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom