Why We Need a Freedom Rally

  Why We Need a Freedom Rally

Posted by CN Staff on September 15, 2005 at 09:49:27 PT
By Steven S. Epstein 
Source: Wilmington Advocate  

Massachusetts -- This Saturday the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition hosts its 16th annual Freedom Rally on the Boston Common, it coincidentally is the two hundred and eighteenth anniversary of the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, with the promise that the constitution it drafted would “secure the blessings of liberty” to the American People. I am proud to say I have been involved in this annual event since the first in 1990 at the USS Constitution and will continue to be until cannabis is legal; I am 84, or dead.
Why would a 34-year-old middle class lawyer with a wife and at the time two children, we since added a third, help organize a protest against marijuana prohibition? Well, I have consumed marijuana, as have most of you reading this essay according to government surveys, and like Michael Bloomberg, now mayor of New York, I liked it. My teachers taught me to question authority and growing up during the Nixon Administration reinforced their lessons of mistrust of government. My experience with marijuana and my reading of the vast literature on the plant taught me that the government was and continues to lie about the risk it poses to its users and to society.    The vast majority of former and current users are productive, responsible citizens, who have not used other illicit drugs. Except for their use of marihuana, they are as otherwise law-abiding as the rest of the citizenry. This attitude is reflected in the success marijuana policy questions have had with Massachusetts voters since 2000. The results show a solid majority do not want possession of marijuana to be a crime. Voter approved questions have proposed it be a civil violation, like a speeding ticket and for the police to hold a person under 18 cited for possession until the child is released to a parent, legal guardian or brought before a judge.    As a student of the Constitution of the United States and Massachusetts it is apparent to me the founders understood that you cannot legislate Utopia into existence. Marijuana prohibition as part of the utopian war on drugs purports as its goal to establish a “drug free America.” Years of prohibition have by experience taught that what is really accomplished by prohibition is a price support for producers and distributors of these substances, in the case of marijuana an ounce of dried flowers is boosted to the remarkably high retail price of $240 to over $400 depending on the quality! Since enforcement efforts cannot accomplish the utopian goal of eradicating marijuana, enforcement is arbitrary and contrary to republican principles. Realizing it is arbitrary, the prohibitionists need it to be too punitive to enhance the “message” the arrest and prosecution of Tom, but not Dick and Harry sends to the community. It is arbitrary because the law grants the arbitrary power to the police to arrest, summons, or verbally warn the offender. It is too punitive because a conviction for possessing marijuana may result not only in incarceration in jail in Massachusetts, but a loss of the privilege to drive a car for up to five years, denial of federally guaranteed student loans, and permanent loss of not only a permit to carry firearms, but the ability to use a rifle to hunt.    Prohibition fails to keep marijuana away from children more effectively than regulation of alcohol and tobacco keeps alcohol away from children it appears the wiser course for Congress and the state legislature to tax and regulate this agricultural commodity while prohibiting it to children as we do tobacco and alcohol. Such a policy is the only policy consistent with securing the Constitution’s promised Blessings of Liberty. It would free our plant scientists to work with cannabis, not as the black market breeders have done to maximize the potency of the flowers, but to maximize seed, fiber and biomass production, as well as research of the medicinal potential.    For much of human history the seed and fiber of this plant with many names was a source of medicine, food and textiles. Tens of thousands of products produced from trees, petroleum and coal can be made from hemp. Freed from the prohibition it may be that hemp will prove an invaluable source of medicines, food, fuel, and textiles again fulfilling John Adams’ 1763 prophecy that, “We shall by and by want a world of hemp more for our own consumption.”Source: Wilmington Advocate (MA)Author: Steven S. Epstein, Massachusetts Cannabis Reform CoalitionPublished: Thursday, September 15, 2005Copyright: 2005 Community Newspaper CompanyContact: wilmington cnc.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #3 posted by FoM on September 15, 2005 at 17:00:31 PT

Off Topic: Farm Aid Web Cast Information
If you can't make it to Chicago you can still the concert you can still see it on the live webcast. We are excited that a webcast will happen once again. Details will be forthcoming over the next few days but the two most important things to know are that the webcast is free and it is only on:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on September 15, 2005 at 15:25:03 PT

Off Topic: How O'Reilly Feels About Katrina Victims
O’Reilly Says “Many, Many, Many Of The Poor In New Orleans…Were Drug-Addicted…They Were Thugs, Whatever”...
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 15, 2005 at 13:48:19 PT

DNA Research Uncovers New Cannabis Strain
Friday, September 16, 2005Researchers in the ACT appear to have found a previously unidentified type of cannabis plant which they have dubbed 'rasta'.There are currently thought to be only two types of cannabis, one prized for its rope-making qualities, the other cultivated for its drug properties.New Scientist reports that Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) scientists categorised almost 200 cannabis plants according to their DNA.CIT spokesman Simon Gilmore says he and colleagues at the institute's Centre for Forensic Science appear to have uncovered another sub-species of the plant.'Rasta' is not dissimilar to the sativa sub-species but New Scientist reports that it contains more THC, certainly more than the indica sub-species that is used for rope-making.Mr Gilmore says it could be an ancient line they have identified through DNA."What we might be uncovering is really an ancient relationship," he said."Cannabis has been used a lot by humans in the last few thousand years and while we have a signature that there might have been three different types of cannabis, what could have happened with human cross-breeding [is] that those distinctions could have been lost by now."Three different mitochondrial DNA types in the cannabis that's grown these days, it might imply that cannabis had been domesticated on three separate occasions."It seems the first use was for food - cannabis seeds are highly nutritious apparently but not all that tasty."Mr Gilmore says the object of studying 200 plants was to find markers to track the origins of illegal cannabis.Copyright: 2005 ABC
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