This I Believe

Crystal - Rolling Hills, California
Entered on October 28, 2007

I have my own free will. With this free will, I have the natural right to make my own decisions. No one, not society nor the government can tell me what I can or cannot do as long as I maintain the free will of others.

I have the right to freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to smoke marijuana.

I am not condoning the use of marijuana—I have never used it, nor do I ever intend to, but the government has no place to tell me that I can’t. The legalization of marijuana would only be restoring a natural right the government stole from me and would vastly reduce the number of marijuana users. This, I believe.

I realize that the idea of legalizing marijuana to reduce drug use is seemingly contradictory. So, to determine the best approach to regulating marijuana, we must first look at its fundamental appeal. Because marijuana is illegal, it has become the “cool” thing to do. You want to rebel against society? Here, take some pot and become a member of the “in” crowd. The very same restrictions the government placed on marijuana are the ones that proliferated its appeal.

Legalization of marijuana would not increase the number of its users; it would do the contrary. I have made the choice not to do marijuana because of the detrimental effects it would have on my body. If marijuana were legalized, I still would not even consider trying the smallest puff, and I do not believe that any other informed, non-user would either.

Some claim that because it is a “gateway drug,” marijuana should not be made legal. Marijuana is a gateway drug regardless of its legality. Because the legalization of marijuana would only reduce the number of marijuana users, less people would use it as a gateway to other drugs. This would essentially reduce the use of all drugs.

But again, I must stress that regardless of the fact that marijuana is a gateway drug, it is the right of the individual, and the individual alone, to decide whether he wants to use it. In addition, the high tax that would be collected from the sale of marijuana after its legalization would be channeled directly into drug prevention and treatment programs, which would better educate the people about drugs and would allow them to make smarter decisions when it comes to marijuana use.

I believe that the legalization of marijuana would restore my natural rights. The government has no place to tell me that I cannot smoke marijuana. The mere idea almost makes me want to stand up in defiance, rebel against societal constraints, become a member of the “in” crowd, and take a huge hit from my neighbor’s stash. Well, almost.