Inconsistent principles

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2004

The political philosopher, John Stuart Mill wrote: "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right."

I agree with Mill. He echoes the views of our founding fathers. I also agree with our Alaska Supreme Court Justices, who are sober and serious-minded people, not "hop heads" or outsiders. In Ravin v. State, our Supreme Court looked at the legitimate concerns about the effects on society of the individual use of marijuana. The court concluded that these societal concerns are insufficient to justify unlimited government intrusion into the rights of an adult to privately consume marijuana. It also concluded that the state of Alaska did not have the right to prohibit marijuana use in the home. However, according to Mill, and I believe our founding principles, marijuana should be legal for an adult to buy, own and then use in their home if they so choose.

Interestingly, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew cannabis on their plantations and cannabis was sold over the counter for personal use. In fact, marijuana was a legal commodity in the United States through much of our history.

The fact is that concrete scientific research has shown that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol. Now alcoholism causes cirrhosis of the liver, and the reason we know this is due to scientific research demonstrating cause and effect. No scientific study has found that marijuana has such extreme health affects and the evidence is to the contrary.

To prohibit marijuana but not prohibit alcohol is inconsistent with Mill and our founding principles. Proposition No. 2 is about the rights of an adult citizen and the limits of government in a free society. Vote yes on 2.

Joanna Pippenger


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