Pubdate: Mon, 23 Dec 2013
Source: Daily Hampshire Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2013 Daily Hampshire Gazette
Author: Steven S. Epstein


The Northampton physician who wrote a recent letter is correct that the
debate about banning e-cigarettes and legalizing marijuana, as with any
legislative action, requires "a sober consideration of what is fact."
Yet he invokes the long discredited speculation that marijuana
use is a "gateway" to use of other drugs.

He ignores the fact that debates over public policy choices must also
consider the constitutional limits on the power of fallible federal,
state and municipal legislative bodies under our constitutions. When it
comes to marijuana, depriving adults of the liberty of engaging in its
cultivation, commerce and consumption lacks the consent of a large
segment of the governed - likely a significant majority.

Another "constitutional" fact is that it is unwise and unreasonable
to create a black market in a commodity for which there is significant

Yet another "constitutional" fact is that it is repugnant to
constitutions intended to advance both the material well-being and
happiness of the people to dismiss a plant valued from the dawn of
agriculture for its abundant production of nutritious seeds and strong
fiber as well as its medicinal and entheogenic ("generating the
divine within") qualities. It is a plant that modern science has
found could compete as an industrial feed stock in competition with
trees and fossil carbons.

While children should not use it without a physician's recommendation,
adults must have a choice.

Steven S.Epstein

Steven S.Epstein, an attorney, is founder of the Massachusetts
Cannabis Reform Coalition.
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