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Legalization and freedom go hand-in-hand
The Pullman City Council will vote on a moratorium for legal community cannabis gardens Tuesday
Published 8/29/2011
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Talking about the legalization of cannabis can be like beating a dead horse. Too often, those with the opportunity, authority, and power to right, or do away with, the discriminatory laws regarding the plant and its users cast the issue aside, ultimately prolonging problems the confusing legal boundaries cause. Medicinal users are made into second-class citizens, and, along with recreational users, are forced to live in a Prohibition-like state.

It’s safe to say if you, the reader, believe cannabis deserves to be illegal, you should probably research the herb a bit more. Realize the decision to support its illegality supports unconstitutional intrusion on individual freedom and liberty. In the United States, keeping cannabis illegal encourages the perpetration of laws based in part on racism from the early 20th century and making unethical choices about others’ freedom based on a severe lack of knowledge about cannabis itself. Let us get away from the idealistic banter though, and focus on something local and pertinent.

Pullman City Council members will be voting Tuesday for or against a moratorium regarding regulation of medical cannabis and community gardens. If it passes, this means they will delay the process of establishing a clear medicinal cannabis system in Pullman in order to review state and federal policies about the plant.

While it is encouraging they are at least considering the prospect of legalization, a suspension on making a decision may force medicinal users to obtain cannabis from less safe sources, and would continue to perpetuate the illogical notion cannabis isn’t worthy of legalization. During last week's meeting, one disheartening comment came from Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins, who stated those found with medical marijuana cards in Pullman are typically students with what appears to be no discernible debilitating ailment.

It is unreasonable for one person, or a group of people, to limit the victimless freedom of another based on their moral standings. There is no realistic conceivable entitlement one is bestowed with that grants authority to tell others how to live if it does not intrude on one’s personal liberty. Utilizing the traits of a plant for personal enjoyment, health, or self-destruction, as some view it, is a personal choice just like consuming alcohol, taking Tylenol, or smoking tobacco, and must be left up to the individual to decide whether to partake or not.

If the Pullman City Council votes for a moratorium, it will be partly in cowardice. They fear the consequences the federal government may impose on them if they decide to begin regulating medical marijuana now. However, it is understandable to exercise some caution if the cons of the decision to make cannabis legal outweigh the pros.

It still comes down to allowing people the undeniable capacity to live the lifestyles they want to, regardless of one’s own judgment of said lifestyles. The decision to enact a moratorium rather than start the process of regulation may come down to purely economic reasons as opposed to bigotry, but to think delaying the legality of cannabis, or, in other words, to postpone granting people the basic, inalienable, victimless lifestyle freedoms our country promotes, is a disservice to those with medical needs in particular, and literally everyone else in this community.

Giving cannabis legal status is a more fundamental issue of freedom than most people care to realize. It, along with others pertaining to autonomous lifestyle and individual liberty for everyone, needs to be something we strive for as freedom-advocating individuals. There is nothing more pertinent to our existence than to live and let live.

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