A Lawyer's Argument On Medical Marijuana
Posted by Leo J. Paquin -- B.A.(Hon.), M.A., LL.B | October 04 2012 | 5211 views | Comments ↓
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- Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is a well established principle in the philosophy of law that governments ought not criminalize conduct that is engaged in by a significant section of the population. This, because the government and its laws are supposed to be of, by and for the people. When the government makes illegal conduct that offends that principal, such as marijuana prohibition, it goes to war with its own people. The result is that people, altogether lawful in most other respects, end up arrested, fined and incarcerated for no other reason than that they are growing a certain kind of plant in their garage.
Many countries are gradually coming around to accepting this principal of the rule of law. Dozens, including Canada, have established a medical exception to marijuana prohibition. Other countries operate with an even more expansive category that does not require any medical documentation, such as the Netherlands.
That said, in some jurisdictions the reverse is true. Take California, for example. In some sense it is a beacon for the whole cannabis industry. Yet recent laws have been passed to close hundreds of dispensaries. It is beyond obvious that the State has no good reason for this. Also, the Netherlands has raked in its marijuana laws such that only Dutch residents can take advantage of cannabis laws that used to be the most liberal and permissive in the world.
How can the modern grower of cannabis contribute to this situation? If it is possible in his or her jurisdiction, get licensed. Once licensed, put that license to activist purposes. Grow, sell, object to police action over cannabis. Write, talk and act in a way that helps the community develop appropriate, legal standards not just for medicinal cannabis, but for marijuana generally. These steps put the cannabis grower right at the center of the development of a cannabis law throughout the world. For the most part, these steps rely somewhat upon principles of civil disobedience. As Martin Luther King, Jr, once said, “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
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Thursday, 04 October 2012
Article by Leo J. Paquin -- B.A.(Hon.), M.A., LL.B, on Oct. 4th 2012