August 27, 2009

Opinion - Argentina: Marijuana Decrim In Court

The Argentine Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to punish people for using marijuana. This is coming just after the official legalization of Marijuana in Mexico. These two stories have globally aware stoners on the edge of their seats, watching Latin America's progress on marijuana policy.

Argentina's Supreme Court President Ricardo Lorenzetti said private behavior is legal, "as long as it doesn't constitute clear danger". Which is what everyone who refers to the "prohibition" of marijuana has been getting at for decades. We all, as humans first, but also as citizens of our individual countries, have the right to whatever choices we want so long as they do not directly harm others.

In trying to protect people from their own acts, governments are attempting to dictate to them what their values should be. Argentine Justice Lorenzetti also stated, "The state cannot establish morality". Lorenzetti is an honest and bold exception to the modern lineage of weak willed and politically leashed judges in courts all over the world including (maybe especially) in America.

The move has been criticized on the basis that it encourages damaging behavior that might also lead to health risks. The modern problem of law is that the people are confused because they were raised to believe that whatever is legal or made into a law is good. Thus they believe that only things they believe are good things to do should be legal and made into laws.

That's not how it's supposed to work. The law is in place to protect our right to choose whatever each individual decides is correct, no matter the morality, godliness, or any other standard of ethical values. We are supposed to be free to act and speak as we wish, as long as we don't harm others. A person sitting in his house smoking weed is literally, in any realistic interpretation of the act, hurting anyone.

This move by the Argentine Supreme Court and the one by Mexican President Felipe de Jesus Calderon have given me hope in humanity (as dire as that sounds). The reason is, I have begun to see the fight for marijuana legalization as another situation in which people are fighting to keep government in check so that they can stay free. I hope America can shed it's ignorant puritanism, and learn to value human choice as human life because they are equally important.

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