Marijuana: Freedom of the People and the Limits of Government


marijuana joint

marijuana joint (Photo credit: Torben Bjørn Hansen)

This week Washington and Colorado both voted on amendments to legalize the recreational use of Marijuana.  This marks a drastic shift in the political consciousness of this country involving the recreational use and decriminalization of drugs.  There are currently 18 states in addition to Washington D.C. that have laws which allow for the medical use of marijuana.  Both Washington and Colorado were among the 18 until Tuesday night, where now they both lead the pack in a revolution of a new political ideology within the United States.  This new ideology and political power has not only spoken but now stands head to head against the federal government in an attempt to show that “We the people” do not agree with the current federal legislation concerning marijuana.  Federal laws of course supersede the laws of the state allowing the Federal government to prosecute if they so choose, but if so decided they will simultaneously be going against the will of their people.  So herein lies the problem and the ball currently, rests quietly in the court of the federal government awaiting their reaction.   This of course is quite an interesting turn of events in the political discourse of the United States and the world  and  all of us are waiting on the edge of our seat to see what happens next.  For all of us, this new legislation poses a much larger question as global citizens, and the question is; to what extent should the government be allowed to impose laws governing the many activities of our daily lives?  Many of us would agree that government should play a direct and active role when it comes to the protection of its citizens, but in the arena of day to day activities which do not cause harm to others the government should be playing a much more passive role.   One that does not impose or impede, but rather improves the daily lives of its citizens and expands the freedoms of the people.

The passing of these laws should encourage us that we really can play a direct role in creating profound effects upon our governments, not only on a local level but on a national and international level as well.  Currently the entire world is interested in the passing of these laws and like us is watching to see what will happen next, because it means for all of us that there is a new wave of thinking which is growing.  A thinking amongst the people of the world that recognizes legality does not necessarily equate to morality.  The people have come to realize that governments and the laws they impose do not necessarily always represent the will of the people in real time.  We are beginning to see a sort of rebellion towards perceived authority the world over with events like the Arab spring, the mass occupy protests and now with the legalization of marijuana in these two states.  People everywhere are standing up for their beliefs against archaic governments which can no longer properly represent the people as a whole.  The information age has allowed the people to not only educate themselves but it has also allowed for self representation.  The proliferation of the individual voice has catapulted itself into the global consciousness, giving power to the people unlike any other time in history.  And what that voice seems to be saying is that we wish to be free to make our own choices concerning the mundane aspects of our lives as well as the more profound and intimate aspects of our lives without government intervention.  If we are meant to be truly free individuals, then we the people of the world should be allowed to decide when and how to regulate our individual consciousness with mind-altering and enhancing substances, whether that be with caffeine or cannabis, so as long as we do not harm anyone in the process.  This is what true freedom should consist of, the freedom to control and to make decisions concerning that which is most intimate for the individual.

This is not necessarily a question about drug use as it is a question of personal freedom and the limits of government in the lives of its citizens.  We are witnessing a change in belief about the nature of government and how it should be incorporated into our daily lives and I believe, we all have a stake in this change and should be actively participating in the shaping of our society and our reality.

Just. B.

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