Pubdate: Sun, 15 May 2011
Source: Metrowest Daily News (MA)
Copyright: 2011 MetroWest Daily News
Author: Steven S. Epstein


Regarding Attorney Cutler's Guest Opinion, "Liberty and the odor of
marijuana" (May 8), I would like to point out that cannabis
prohibition violates the citizens' right to liberty.

We learned last Thursday night at the Republican Presidential
Candidate debate that Congressman Ron Paul and former New Mexico
Governor, Gary Johnson understand this.

Article 18 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, also derived
from Otis' argument, emphasizes that part of the agreement between the
people in forming government is the Governor and Legislature's duty to
"an exact and constant observance" of "the fundamental principles of
the constitution" when enacting only "wholesome and reasonable" laws
that are "not repugnant or contrary to the constitution." This creates
a presumption that we, the people, retain our natural rights and
liberties except when necessary, not just convenient, to protect from
the immoral exercise of force or fraud by others. The same duty is
upon the Courts when called upon to determine if a legislative act is
within the power to legislate.

Similar principles limit the power of the Federal government. Both
governments breached their duty to the people when they prohibited
cannabis commerce.

They will remain in breach of those sacred compacts until reasonable
regulation of that commerce replaces prohibition. A commerce that not
only provides the leaves and flowers for the mildly psychoactive and
medicinal effect to those who choose to consume, but seeds, fiber and
high cellulose content stalks for thousands of uses that will fuel the

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