One of the increasingly ubiquitous topics saturating the news headlines and postings on this site has been the topic of marijuana legalization. There are seemingly endless reasons to end the war on drugs, specifically the war on marijuana. However, this particular posting will focus on speaking to those who agree that the federal laws on marijuana are repressive and antiquated yet are not ready to take a principled and uncompromising stand against the state which has persecuted users of a plant that was legal until a massive propaganda machine convinced congress to criminalize it in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act.
Let me first start by saying I have never liked the term legalization applied to the drug topic because it suggests the natural state would be illegal were it not for the permission and access granted by the benevolent government. I prefer the term decriminalization because it correctly asserts it has been artificially forbidden and is now returned to its native state of legality.
A friend recently pointed out there actually is a definitive difference between the two terms. The prime difference is that decriminalization removes criminal charges but leaves intact associated laws and regulations, whereas legalization is the process of removing a legal prohibition against something which is not currently legal.
What good does it do to remove criminal charges and still punish a user with a ticket and a fine? The state gets the best of both evil worlds because it can continue to murder and pillage by means of the expensive and expansive drug war, all the while appeasing the compromising masses who are satisfied with the superficial removal of criminal charges; meanwhile, the state continues to line its coffers with the fine-generated revenue plundered from the "non-criminals". If a "non-criminal" refuses to fork over the booty, will the state not then declare him a criminal?
Notwithstanding the dictionary distinction between the two, I will continue to use my definition of decriminalization and emphasize that my definition includes the removal of any and all prohibition.
I have been pleasantly surprised when reading online news articles to see the number of reader comments supporting the decriminalization of marijuana. However, I find it troubling that there are those who believe marijuana should not be illegal but at the same time maintain the thought process "the law is the law and we should obey it. If you don't agree with the law, it must be changed first before you break it."
This idiom is ridiculous and senseless because it turns everyone into sheep and suggests we must go with the flow and wait for our compassionate leaders to change an oppressive law. Civil disobedience has played a role throughout history and proves that often there must be a pioneer who was not comfortable with the status quo and used the court system to challenge the law, rather than waiting for the legislators.
These trail blazers must be supported and embraced as the heroes and patriots they are, not hypocritically chastised by those who shallowly agreed with their principle but not their practical implementation.
Note: I realize there is a dangerously slippery slope with respect to judicial review, but the ultimate compass in which a law's legitimacy is rooted should be its focus on the preservation of individual liberty (some say the barometer should be its constitutionality, but we see how that document has been bastardized and disregarded).
We must further expunge the proposition that marijuana be legalized and then regulated and taxed. All you have to do is look at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to realize the state is history's worst body of drug regulators. Confidence in the ability of the FDA to effectively regulate the "legal" drug market hit an all-time low by even the state's standards when the Supreme Court ruled drug companies can still be sued despite having received the FDA's blessing. Even the state doesn't trust the state!
And those who truly support the relinquishing of the state's stranglehold of the serfs cannot be taken seriously when they advocate the taxation of marijuana. All this accomplishes is the substitution of one form of tyranny for another. The state will then possess amplified financial means to perpetrate even more oppression against the people, thus perpetuating the vicious despotic cycle fueled by complacency.
Those that support the decriminalization of marijuana must employ a systematic approach that is unequivocal and absolute, and must not yield to those who hold a position open to negotiation. The battle for liberty cannot be half-heartedly fought, for I can assure that that the enemy of liberty, the state, is focused and dedicated in their unrelenting march toward power and totalitarianism.