Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people are arrested for possession of marijuana. Individuals accused of growing or selling marijuana can be sent to prison for years, and can have their car, their house and other property confiscated by the government. Every year, the federal government and the various state and local governments spend billions of tax dollars trying to stop people from growing, selling or using marijuana.
Politicians and police chiefs admit that they are unable to protect us from violent crime. And yet they are using scarce police resources to arrest and prosecute peaceful and otherwise law-abiding marijuana smokers. This makes no sense at all!
Despite the threat of punishment, millions of Americans smoke marijuana on a regular basis. In doing so, they put themselves at risk of police harassment as well as criminal penalties. They also prove by their action that not all Americans support marijuana prohibition.
The United States government has experimented with prohibition for most of this century. In 1920, the federal government actually banned manufacture, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages throughout the entire country! This created a huge organized crime empire which profited from the sale of banned beverages.
During the period of alcohol prohibition, more than 1,300 Americans were killed by zealous prohibition agents and other law enforcement officers. Countless others died from consuming badly made or adulterated liquor. After thirteen years, most Americans agreed that prohibition was a failure, and it was repealed.
Marijuana is banned for the same reason that alcohol was banned in the 1920's - because some people get pleasure from using it. But the costs of marijuana prohibition have proved to be much greater than the costs of alcohol prohibition.
In California and other states, if you are convicted of possessing marijuana, your driver's license will be suspended for six months.
Under federal law, your car, your house, and any cash in your possession can be seized if you are suspected of growing or selling marijuana. The government can even seize money you pay to your lawyer, effectively destroying your right to legal defense.
Supporters of marijuana prohibition cannot claim that marijuana use harms society. They have not shown that it leads to violence or crime. Instead, the prohibitionists justify outlawing marijuana by claiming that it might lead to the use of hard drugs - heroin or cocaine.
The evidence shows otherwise. Investigations by the Consumers Union in the United States and by the Le Dain Commission in Canada have disproved the notion that marijuana use leads to use of heroin. But the "gateway drug" myth continues to dominate the propaganda put out by the anti-marijuana forces.
Marijuana has been used for healing for thousands of years. It is mentioned in ancient Chinese medical texts and in European herbal formularies of the 18th and 19th Centuries.
In modern clinical tests, marijuana has been shown to be effective in treating glaucoma, a condition of excessive ocular pressure which can lead to blindness.
Marijuana has been successfully used to reduce nausea in cancer patients who are treated with radiation or chemotherapy. Similarly it reduces nausea and improves appetite for people afflicted with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Getting adequate nutrition is very important for cancer and AIDS patients, and marijuana is of proven benefit.
Despite these and other proven medical benefits, the federal government under President George Bush ended its medical marijuana program. Likewise, the Clinton administration has stated that it will not make marijuana available for medical uses.
The first federal law against marijuana was passed in 1937 by a Congress dominated by the Democratic Party, and signed by President Franklin D Roosevelt. Since then, both Democrats and Republicans have supported the policy of persecuting marijuana smokers.
The Libertarian Party calls for an end to marijuana prohibition. Libertarians want to repeal federal and state laws which ban the production, sale, possession or use of marijuana by adults.
Libertarians helped to put the California Marijuana Initiative on the ballot in 1972. Libertarians supported the campaign which resulted in 34% of California voters backing legalization in that election.
Libertarians helped to put the Oregon Marijuana Initiative on the ballot in 1984. Libertarians were part of the effort to qualify the California Hemp Initiative for the ballot in 1994.
Libertarian candidates for Congress and state legislature throughout the United States support and campaign for the legalization of marijuana.
"Libertarian" just means we are for liberty. Libertarians believe each person has the right to do anything that does not hurt another person.
When the government uses its police power to prevent individuals from engaging in peaceful activities, it takes away their freedom. When the government tries to enforce the marijuana laws, it uses methods appropriate only in a Nazi-type police state.
Wiretapping; secret, paid informers; spraying toxic chemicals on plants grown for human consumption; invasion of foreign countries; mandatory drug-testing of high school and college students; these are just some of the tactics in the government's crusade against marijuana.
Mandatory minimum sentences have resulted in people being sent to prison for growing or selling marijuana, while rapists and armed robbers are released to make room in overcrowded prisons.
Nobel laureate Dr Milton Friedman has stated the case clearly:
"Every friend of freedom...must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, but he vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence.
If you use marijuana, or have friends who do, the Libertarian Party stands for your rights and the rights of your friends.
The Democrats and the Republicans are building jails to put you or your friends in. Bill Clinton has admitted that he smoked marijuana, but as Governor he put marijuana users in Arkansas jails, and oversaw a crop-eradication program. As President has continued to enforce federal marijuana laws.
If you want freedom to do your own thing, join the Libertarian Party. If you are concerned about your friends who might smoke marijuana, you can show your concern by supporting the Libertarian Party and voting for Libertarian candidates.
If you have a friend with glaucoma, cancer, or AIDS, you can help make their life better by joining our campaign to end marijuana prohibition.
Join the Libertarian Party - it's the friendly thing to do.
Emperor Wears No Clothes * by Jack Herer * 19.95 (History and uses of Hemp;Oversized paperback)
Hemp-Lifeline to the Future * by Chris Conrad *12.00 (More Hemp History)
Crisis in Drug Prohibition * edited by David Boaz * 7.50 (All aspects of the issue)
Dealing With Drugs * edited by Ronald Hamowy * 12.95 (What's wrong with Prohibition)
Marijuana Reconsidered * by Lester Grinspoon,MD * 16.95 (Scholarly case for changing the law)
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