When marijuana was legalized in Alaska, consumption went down. The Netherlands had a similar experience. In Amsterdam, heroin addiction is half that of the U.S. rate, and crack is not widely available. When we honor our neighbor’s choice, he or she will often act differently than we would have predicted. ... The excessive profit that comes from prohibitive licensing would not exist in the self-regulating marketplace ecosystem. Alcohol and cigarettes, which are illegal for minors, are less of a problem because they are less profitable. If recreational drugs were legal, their medicinal properties could be more easily studied and employed. Today, red tape discourages physicians from giving marijuana to their patients, even though it can slow the progress of glaucoma, keep cancer patients from being nauseated by chemotherapy, and help treat multiple sclerosis. Until it became illegal, marijuana was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia for some of these purposes. Instead, our enforcement agents seized the marijuana plants of a retired postal worker suffering from cancer. Robert Brewser had used them to control the pain and nausea from his radiation therapy. The agents also took -- without trial -- the van his wife used to take him to the hospital for treatment! How much universal love do we show our neighbors when we support laws that make this possible? ... Aggression-through-government sets the stage for drug problems. When we discriminate against disadvantaged workers through minimum wage and licensing laws, we frustrate their economic goals. Getting high is certainly more attractive when other parts of one’s life don’t seem to be working. Selling drugs certainly seems like a lucrative career for a ghetto youth banned from legitimate paths of creating wealth. In addition to the other deleterious effects of licensing laws, they may well contribute to the drug problem. Drug prohibition is counterproductive. We resist this conclusion, however, because we want to control other people’s choices. Some people will indeed make what we consider to be poor choices for themselves. People who overeat, drink heavily, or engage in dangerous activities may prefer a shorter, more exciting, and intense life to a longer one with different rewards. They may prefer gratification over longevity. It is their life and their choice -- if only we would honor it.
Healing Our World, Ch 15
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Reader comments about this quote:
As a libertarian myself I totally agree with Dr. Mary 100%.
 -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    cal has proved him/her self to not be a libertarian, as cal is very interested in judging the private bedroom practices of others.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
     -- James Lardie, Williamston      
    I draw the line Reston when it comes to things that are not normal or natural. We all sometimes wonder if you are anywhere at all normal.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    ummm, I overly agree with the (my) perceived ultimate principle reflected here but don't know that I agree with the premise as set forth
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Dr. Ruwart, you speak the truth. However, the sociopaths who gravitate to public office delight in "control(ling) other people's choices". Our Narcissist politicians are the ideal tools for the true puppet-masters, the fabulously wealthy who are almost never named. You can bet your bottom dollar that these "people" profit greatly from our current situation.
     -- Byron, Fort Collins     
    BTW, wasn't it the DuPont family who pushed to make marijuana illegal? DuPont nylon couldn't compete, initially, against the cheaper hemp for rope-making.
     -- Byron, Fort Collins     
    I agree 100%. Yes, Byron, hemp fiber (marijuana is hemp) is the strongest natural fiber on Earth. The DuPont's and the Hearst's helped to make 'marijuana' illegal in order to prevent hemp from competing against nylon (DuPont) and timber (Hearst). After the prohibition had been passed, representatives soon discovered that the evil 'marijuana' was actually hemp, which was a HUGE industry in America. But the damage had been done, and we have been stuck with this legislation ever since. As well, after alcohol prohibition was repealed, the federal agencies built up during prohibition needed something to do. We have been suckered again. But the People are to blame once again for trading in their own liberty in order to control someone else's choices -- and apparently that is OK. There lies the real reason we are subjected to the reams and reams of statutes coming out of Washington -- the majority of us have forgotten that government is not to be used to force others to obey the dictates of other fellow human beings.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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