The U.S. was founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So, why does the government prohibit Americans from altering their state of consciousness with drugs it has deemed illegal? After all, drug prohibition has not only proven ineffective and unjust in many cases, but it also impinges on one’s right to live life as they see fit. It restricts liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Given these inconsistencies between principle and policy, what role should the U.S. government play, if any, in regulating mind-altering substances as we move forward into the 21st century?

DR. CARL HART: The Declaration of Independence is the founding document of the country. It’s not a law, it’s the ideal which we are striving to get to. The major ideals that are espoused in the Declaration is that every human has at least three birth rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And then the Declaration also says that, ‘Governments should be created in order to secure these rights not restrict these rights.’ If we were consistent, we would allow Americans to alter their consciousness-but we’re not doing that. What we have today is that our government is restricting our rights to alter our consciousness, restricting our rights to put whatever we decide in our body. It’s inconsistent with this promise of Americans being able to live their life as they see fit.

So when we look back on the civil rights movement, for example, many of the leaders look to the Declaration of Independence showing that many of the laws, particularly like Jim Crow laws, were inconsistent with this promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for its Black citizens. And they were asking the country to live up to its ideals. Dr. Martin Luther King for example said that, ‘We have an obligation as citizens to disobey unjust laws.’ And I’m arguing that our drug laws are unjust.

One way that we can engage in civil disobedience is that we can disobey that law. And we disobey that law by coming out of the closet about your drug use. It would show the country that its view of a drug user is wholly inaccurate. The typical drug user is a middle-class person who is well functioning, who contributes to their community. And so, I wanted people to come out of the closet so people could see this. There are still potential consequences for me being out of the closet about my drug use, but it’s far more important for us as Americans to set the record straight-and for us Americans to stand up on behalf of people who have been persecuted merely for acknowledging that they use drugs.

What parades as patriotism in the United States is not real patriotism. “America First! America First!” So these people who wave flags and claim to be patriots-that’s not necessarily patriotism.Patriotism is fighting for other people’s rights like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The problem is many Americans don’t even know they have those birthrights. 

So the bottom line is that when I think of my drug use, I think about, “This is my prerogative!” This is related to my liberty. I have the choice to put in my body as I see fit, and what I see fit to put into my body, that’s my choice. And I think of drug use in the same way. As long as I am not preventing other people from doing the same, there are no problems.

NEWS RELATED

Study: Canada geese beat humans in longstanding territory battle

Ryan Askren, pictured with collared Canada goose, worked with University of Illinois researcher Mike Ward and others to determine whether and why harassment efforts work to repel nuisance populations of Canada geese. Credit: Ryan Askren Canada geese collide with aircraft, intimidate unassuming joggers, and leave lawns and sidewalks spattered ...

View more: Study: Canada geese beat humans in longstanding territory battle

Study reveals genomic potential of active soil microbial populations under simulated winter conditions

USGS Northern peatlands contain huge amounts of stored carbon. Studying how microbes transform this trapped carbon and release it as carbon dioxide is an important factor in understanding climate change. Credit: Kristen Manies Scientists estimate that northern peatlands contain one third of the Earth’s soil carbon. This makes them ...

View more: Study reveals genomic potential of active soil microbial populations under simulated winter conditions

NASA's Lunar Flashlight SmallSat readies for launch

This illustration shows NASA’s Lunar Flashlight using its four-laser reflectometer to search for surface water ice as it makes a close approach over the Moon’s South Pole. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech When NASA’s Lunar Flashlight launches no earlier than Nov. 30, the tiny satellite will begin a three-month journey, with mission ...

View more: NASA's Lunar Flashlight SmallSat readies for launch

Hawaii's Mauna Loa erupts, officials warn people to prepare

This image provided by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory shows a view from a research camera on the north rim of the summit caldera of the Mauna Loa volcano, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. The U.S. Geological Survey says the eruption began late Sunday night in the summit caldera of ...

View more: Hawaii's Mauna Loa erupts, officials warn people to prepare

Image: Hubble glimpses a glittering gathering of stars

Credit: NASA, ESA and R. Cohen (Rutgers the State University of New Jersey); Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America) This glittering gathering of stars is Pismis 26, a globular star cluster located about 23,000 light-years away. Many thousands of stars gleam brightly against the black backdrop of the image, ...

View more: Image: Hubble glimpses a glittering gathering of stars

Math approach may make drug discovery more effective, efficient

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. have devised a computer-based platform for drug discovery that could make the process more effective, more efficient and less costly. Dr. Baris Coskunuzer, professor of mathematical sciences at UT Dallas, and his colleagues ...

View more: Math approach may make drug discovery more effective, efficient

Study finds that big rains eventually bring big algae blooms

Center for Limnology system engineer Mark Gahler, right, co-author of a new study on the relationship between big storms and algae blooms, and colleague Jonathon Thom collect Lake Mendota data from instruments aboard David Buoy. Credit: Paul Shcramm, UW–Madison In the lake-rich regions of the world, algae blooms are ...

View more: Study finds that big rains eventually bring big algae blooms

A waste windfall: New process shows promise turning plastic trash into pharmaceuticals

The upcycling of polyethylenes to SMs. Polyethylenes are chemically degraded using metal catalysts and pressurized oxygen to generate a distribution of diacids, which are metabolized by fungi to rapidly produce structurally diverse SMs. Credit: Angewandte Chemie (2022). DOI: 10.1002/ange.202214609 Catalina Island, located 22 miles off the coast of Los ...

View more: A waste windfall: New process shows promise turning plastic trash into pharmaceuticals

ATLAS observatory atop Hawai'i's Mauna Loa volcano watching eruption closely

New analysis finds pandemic didn't dampen deforestation

Calcifying organisms are under threat from a combination of ocean warming and acidification

Brexit changes caused 22.9% slump in UK-EU exports into Q1 2022 according to new research

Childhood Poverty Impacts Well-Being in Middle Age

Mom’s Dietary Fat Rewires Male and Female Brains Differently

Industrializing 3D printing

Promising New Cancer Therapy Developed by Albert Einstein College of Medicine

New research unearths obscure and contradictory heat transfer behaviors

What may be the largest source of abiotic methane gas on Earth

MIT Policy Hackathon produces new solutions for technology policy challenges

Talks kick off on global plastic trash treaty

OTHER NEWS

Breaking thailand news, thai news, thailand news Verified News Story Network