I joined NORML because I believe in personal freedom and bodily autonomy, and because I want to help alleviate the lasting consequences of the War on Drugs.
Regarding the issue of autonomy, I believe it is one’s own decision what they do or do not put in their body. Additionally, I believe certain psychoactive experiences provide us with unique epistemic and recreational benefits. (See Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception for more on the philosophical benefits of these experiences). The legalization of marijuana would permit adults to use cannabis responsibly, as well as encourage research that would open doors for new medicine, neuroscience, and metaphysics.
However, as exciting as these benefits of legalization are, equally important is ending the negative consequences associated with criminalization. Citizens have been incarcerated, profiled, and abused on a mass-scale by policies based on racism, classism, and injustice. Billions of tax dollars and man-hours have been poured into the brutal enforcement of marijuana laws. This time and energy creates cycles of poverty and homelessness that most of us witness daily, when it could be spent improving public services and infrastructure.
This is not only a fight for recreation or for access to medicine, but it is also a fight for racial and socioeconomic equity. The policies that have put us in this position were never based on science, reality, or sympathy, but on hatred and the desire to control the public, and certain minorities in particular. We know this because the creators of prohibition have publicly admitted it. Changing these policies starts with us, the responsible, everyday adults, like the ones here at NORML.