Why Marijuana Is Central to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
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“Cannabinoids are good.”
Have you heard that truth before? – It’s something you will understand if you read any further. You see, science is a truth conspiracy. It’s a testing of reality and standing your ground when you find evidence.
In some ways, being American means confronting untruths. To voice “our” truth through language, to create a new set and setting, we turned to the founders and a collection of essays known as The Federalist Papers.
During 1787 and 1788, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote 85 essays in support of the US Constitution. They used the pen name "Publius" in honor of a famed Roman republican – someone they saw as a defender of liberty.
We became "Publius" for the same purpose: to make our sum greater than our individual parts. In doing so, we have created a series of 36 essays to detail the role of cannabinoids in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We began releasing the essays online in 2009 and will conclude this fall. The essays will then be available in book form as The Cannabis Papers: a citizen’s guide to cannabinoids.
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
The so-called drug war is becoming better known as a war on citizens – a civil war. It has been a war with two distinct federal laws. The first was the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, which was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1966. Into this vacuum was sucked Nixon’s contribution to 21st century drug policy: the 1970 Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. This law contains the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the law making herbal cannabinoids Schedule 1. This means in Bizarro World that herbal cannabinoids have no medical value.
Here we are in 2010 still living under Nixon’s law. That is our history: our tomorrow is much different. That’s because the tide has turned – and it’s a scientific tide. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the science surrounding this remarkable biological modulator, have transformed the battlefield and the logic of the CSA. This is no longer a civil war: it has morphed into a war between science and ignorance.
Science is the language of Publius. As Madison, Hamilton and Jay detailed the workings of the US Constitution, piece-by-piece and Article-by-Article, we have given the same care and effort to describing the role of cannabinoids and the ECS in our bodies. We found that cannabinoids shared a strong characteristic from the founding period: the similarity is found in the famous phrase summing up the basic rights of free people – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
It is no secret that many people think that there is a Life-giving quality to cannabis use. That is where we began – the anecdotal and lived cannabinoid experience. Since the 1970s, cannabis use has been defined by practice – some combination of the medical/patient model and the recreational/liberty model. We are describing something new – the idea that cannabinoids are necessary to life. The cannabis war will no longer be about use and ideology – about who is sick enough or free enough or responsible enough. What is new today is the science of cannabinoids – and you’ll find it more than compelling and often mind-blowing.
Liberty provides its own arguments. The war on cannabis users has compromised our liberty. It has been this way for so long that many of us don’t even recognize the unintended consequences placed on our collective liberty by cannabinoid prohibition – the collateral damage caused by the war. As this changes, as this prohibition comes to a close, we can look forward to a better culture – one with fewer invasions of privacy, fewer arrests, fewer imprisonments – and more human choices for relaxation, more affordable wellness/health care, more tax revenues, and, dare we say it – happier citizens. The days of Reefer Madness, when it was believed that marijuana smoking created homicidal maniacs, are behind us. The days of spaced-out tokesters are behind us. Clearer perceptions about cannabis are emerging. Someone like Montel Williams is the new face of the cannabis patient – a former Marine and successful talk show host who maintains his health through the use of cannabinoids while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Or even beyond any medical perception, someone like Rick Steves – a successful writer and host of travel shows on television and radio. Or even beyond celebrity – perhaps someone like you?