When the mainstream sees us fighting for marijuana legalization, some may think it is just about wanting to get high without getting arrested. In truth, marijuana prohibition affects more of Americans’ civil liberties than just about any other issue. Can you think of any other issue that so directly affects...
First Amendment: Freedom of speech, unless you want to advertise your marijuana shop. Freedom of religion, unless you’re a Rastafarian. Freedom of press, except when they want to put HIGH TIMES behind the counter. Freedom of assembly, unless you’re on probation for pot and can’t associate with marijuana users. Petition the government, like NORML and ASA have done for decades and been denied all the way, even when the government’s own judges agree with them.
Second Amendment: Right to bear arms, except that owning even a legal firearm while committing pot “crimes” like possession with intent to deliver makes you eligible for enhanced sentences, including life in prison in some states.
Third Amendment: Government can’t force you to house its soldiers during peacetime. But worse than a soldier in your house is the electronic tracking devices cops can put on your car in your own driveway without a warrant or your knowledge if they suspect you’re a grower.
Fourth Amendment: Protection against unreasonable search and seizure, unless a human or canine cop can smell (or pretend to smell) marijuana near you. Requirement for search warrants based on probable cause, which can be a rat fingering you for a grow you don’t have, leading to a no-knock SWAT raid that kills your dog and terrifies your children.
Fifth Amendment: Your right to due process, so long as you don’t mention your legal state medical marijuana use in a federal court proceeding. Your right against self-incrimination, other than the contents of your urine on a drug test incriminating you for pot “crimes”.
Sixth Amendment: Your right to fair and speedy public trial, which can mean waiting over three years for a trial without bail if you’re THC Ministry’s Roger Christie. Your right to confront your accusers, which is difficult when your accuser is a K-9 who claimed your trunk was full of pot -- how do you cross-examine a dog?
Seventh Amendment: Right to trial by jury in civil cases where the controversy is over twenty bucks or more, unless you were thinking about suing your dealer for contaminated weed or short weights.
Eighth Amendment: No excessive fines or bail, unless you’re a medical marijuana grower facing millions of dollars of both. No cruel and unusual punishment, so long as you don’t consider jailing patients without their medicine and allowing them to die in their prison cell as “cruel and unusual.”
Ninth Amendment: The protection of rights not enumerated in the Constitution, which was the Founders’ way of saying “We couldn’t write down ALL of the rights the people have!” Those rights must include a personal right to farm hemp, because why wouldn’t a bunch of hemp farmers in an agrarian economy that required planting of hemp and payment of taxes in hemp consider that a right? They could never even possibly conceive that some future government would want to ban it!
Tenth Amendment: The “States Rights” amendment -- unless your state has voted to allow medical use of marijuana and the operation of marijuana dispensaries.
Thirteenth Amendment: Abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, but has a loophole that allows those practices if you’re convicted of a marijuana “crime”, so you can work for 11-cents-an-hour for a private prison corporation.
Fourteenth Amendment: The “Equal Protection” amendment that protects your civil rights as you travel from state to state, unless you’re a medical marijuana patient who’d like to use her medicine on a trip outside her state or the five that recognize other states’ cards.
Fifteenth Amendment: Protects the right to vote from discrimination based on race or color, except for all those mostly black and Latino people busted for drug felonies who lose their right to vote, some for life.
Nineteenth Amendment: Established the right to vote for women, except those wives and girlfriends of drug dealers who knew little to nothing about the “crimes,” had nobody to snitch on, and ended up doing longer felony sentences than the husbands or boyfriends, losing the right to vote in the process.
Twenty-Sixth Amendment: Established the right to vote for 18-20-year-olds, except that the drug war disproportionately targets young people, saddles them with an arrest record, and those with felonies lose their right to vote.
That’s 15 of the 27 Amendments to the Constitution that have been wrecked by the War on Marijuana. Don’t let anyone tell you repealing prohibition isn’t a civil rights issue.