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 economy.
STEVEN S. EPSTEIN,
Letter: The right to use cannabis, MetroWest Daily News, May 15, 2011