Marijuana legalization activists used to be viewed as rebels. Now, because of its apparently inevitable legalization, the topic is sort of boring. And that’s mostly a good thing, but some people who support legalization seem to be missing the point.
Since the comparison “safer than alcohol” convinced many of you fence-sitters to support cannabis legalization, I ask you: would you support limits on how much alcohol a person could possess?
Each of the states where recreational marijuana is legal have put restrictions on the amount allowed for personal possession.
Legal weed states possession limits:
Colorado: Persons 21 years and older in Colorado can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to 6 plants. Varying amounts above these legal limits result in fines graduating to misdemeanor crimes. Possession rules also apply for cannabis-infused or concentrated products like oils and hash with the same graduated punishments. See full details here.
Washington: Washington allows for personal possession of 1 ounce of marijuana for adults, but doesn’t allow for cultivation for either personal use or distribution. It’s still a class C felony to grow any amount without a commercial or medical license. Residents face a complicated step-down of fines and punishments beyond these limits and for marijuana infused items. It’s considered the most restrictive legalization state so far. See more details here.
Oregon: Adults in Oregon can now possess up to 8 ounces (one half pound) of cannabis flowers but are limited to carrying 1 ounce in public. Personal cultivation of 4 plants per household is also allowed under the new as long as plants are hidden from public view. Persons are also allowed to transfer 1 ounce to another party free of charge. Then a convoluted menu of permissions and punishments applies to items made from cannabis. Oregon is considered the most free of all states to date. See more on the new law here.
Alaska: Alaska’s new law allows for personal possession of up to an ounce in public and cultivation (or transportation) of up to 6 plants with 3 or fewer being mature flowering plants. The law also allows the personal “transfer” of up to an ounce to adults “without remuneration”. Again, these limits are followed by a graduated punishment scale. See all of the details here.
You almost have to laugh imagining the authorities trying to police these arbitrary restrictions on a legal substance. It begs the question; if it’s safer than alcohol, to be regulated like it, why have any possession restrictions?
Every pot smoker for 5000 years or longer has known that marijuana is significantly safer than alcohol. Yet it took an organized medical marijuana movement to open the door to legalization. Perhaps that’s why the public is conditioned to think in terms of limited prescription amounts?
The success of medical marijuana has not just been in proving its natural health benefits, but in proving to skeptics that it generates revenue and that the people involved aren’t scary criminals.
However, just because we can legally buy medical cannabis seeds online and will no longer be assaulted by shady drug dealers or no-knock SWAT raids in a few states, doesn’t mean freedom has been achieved yet.
I never supported marijuana legalization because it has health benefits, or because it’s safer than alcohol, or because it can be taxed. I support legalization because I own my body, not the State. Consequently, I believe personal “possession” or “ingestion” of anything should not be a crime (nor should there ever be forced medication in any form for the same reason).
When peaceful victimless behavior is criminalized, the State, by their aggressive prosecution of forbidden behavior, is the only entity creating victims.
This couldn’t be more obvious than the FBI’s recent seizure of darknet drug markets which were self-regulated solutions to the dangerous black market created by prohibition. All participants in these marketplaces were there voluntarily and the platform reinforced honorable behavior. Few, if any, victims resulted from these markets until the FBI smashed and robbed them, kidnapping a few tech geeks for an extended stay in labor camps.
It boggles my mind how anyone can still believe that an actual war with spying, guns and prisons – destroying people’s futures and families – is safer for society than dealing with even the worst effects of drug dependency. As Dr. Ron Paul is fond of saying, “If we can’t even keep drugs out of prisons, how do we expect to keep them out of a free society?”
At least the war on cannabis is slowly coming to an end, but there’s still a long way to go before common sense is achieved. Either you own your body or not. And marijuana is either a legal substance with no possession limits or it’s not. Compromise on these issues is not logical or practically enforceable.
More by Eric Blair