Drug prohibition of any sort infringes on personal freedom. That should serve as good enough proof that the American government should end the War On Drugs and repeal federal drug prohibitions of all kinds. (To most people it’s not quite that simple, hence the necessity of this argument in the first place.) Personal freedoms are, according to an online definition I stumbled upon: “rights and freedoms that protect an individual from the state. Civil liberties (synonymous with personal freedoms) set limits on the government so that its agents cannot… interfere unduly with the lives of private citizens”.
One of the most fundamental ideas upon which America was founded is that each citizen should have the right to do what they want with their body and property, as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others. One infringes on another’s rights by harming them or stealing what that person rightfully owns. Quite simply, if you’re not infringing on anyone else’s rights, on what basis does anyone have a right to stop you? Because doing certain drugs will inevitably lead to the usage of heavier ones? Because it’s “bad for you”? Well, 1) who gets to decide what’s good and what’s bad for every citizen, 2) who says they know better than you about what should go in your body, and 3) how do they have the right to dictate your own personal health choices?
Smoking is pretty darn bad for you but nobody would stand for it if it was against the law to buy, sell, or use cigarettes. And rightfully so. Because as individuals, we have the right to our life, and thus we have the right to make crappy choices – even dangerous ones! It’s not the government’s job to legislate morality or what a bunch of respected officials decide is a good kind of lifestyle. For one thing, not everybody agrees on what is a good choice of lifestyle… Even if smoking pot were unequivocally the most disgusting, unhealthy practice on the planet, I’m sure there would still be plenty of people who’d choose to smoke it even with a guaranteed shortened lifespan. The government might say that being a total pothead will shorten your life, but so might being an alcoholic, smoking cigarettes, eating too much food, and being anorexic. Why does the government not outlaw those things, if like pot they are harmful in excess? If somebody feels like the obesity that comes with food addiction is a worthy price to pay for the enjoyment they feel when they “binge eat”, that is rightfully their choice; it may be a ridiculously stupid one, but on what moral grounds can anyone or anything force you to stop eating as much food as you’d like?
The same argument applies to outlandish regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration that forbid Americans from consuming certain foods, drinks, and medicines that it has deemed unhealthy. One current regulation: the interstate sale of raw milk. I’m actually not kidding. Yes, the government will seriously arrest you for selling milk that the FDA rules is not up to its standards. As strange as it may sound, the common sense argument that people should be able to drink whatever milk they want is the very same one I’m making in favor of drug legalization. The concept and the logic are no different: we all own our bodies, so if our bodies are our property, how can a government justly deny us full usage of that property? And when government is afforded the ability to do just that, and can fully dictate our health choices and our diets, are we not all just property of the government? That’s a scary thought, but it’s an even scarier reality. Scarier still is not just that the current government really upholds laws that view citizens as government property, but that a majority of Americans seem to be so complacent with that.
Life is full of choices – sometimes we make good ones and sometimes we mess up. But it’s our right to mess up, and not the government’s job to parent and “baby” us the way it sees fit. Unless of course we live in a country where each citizen is the government’s property, and I don’t think many Americans believe that’s how individuals should exist in a just society. (Oh wait, I forgot about the liberals.) But again, how is living under drug prohibition anything but living as the government’s property? Think about it. Individuals have the right to make dangerous choices (though it should be noted that drugs like marijuana are substantially less dangerous and far more beneficial than legal drugs like alcohol). This is one of the most basic principles of American freedom. America’s Founding Fathers, though hardly in agreement on every major issue, would at least all readily agree on this.