State College, PA

October 17, 1998

by Julian Heicklen


Smart on Crime & Centre County Libertarian Party

Hello! I am Professor Julian Heicklen, and I belive in freedom. One of the freedoms that we have lost is the right to own vegetables, such as marijuana. The reasons to re-legalize marijuana are several:

1. Moral

It is immoral to arrest someone for owning a vegetable. We have the right to keep and bear vegetables. The most fundamental of all human rights is to have control over your own body. As long as you are not harming others, your body belongs to you to do what you wish.

2. Economic

It costs about $26,000 per year to keep someone in prison. In addition, the inmate is not earning, so his tax dollars are lost to the community. Often an inmate's family has to go on welfare. The total cost for imprisonment can run up to $50,000 per year per inmate. There now are about 50,000 people incarcerated in the U. S. for non-violent marijuana offenses. The total cost to keep these people in prison is about $2.5 billion per year.

3. Social

We are criminalizing an enormous percentage of the population. In 1994, 7% of all U. S. males of age 18 or older entered prison or jail.

A male has a 9% chance of being incarcerated in state or federal prison during his lifetime based on 1991 incarceration rates.

Two-thirds of convicts now entering prisons are doing so for non-violent crimes.

One-half of these are for non-violent narcotics violations.

From 1980 to 1995, the incarcerated population in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections quadrupled.

4. Agricultural

Hemp is a valuable agricultural product. It is used to make clothing, shoes, diapers, rope, cellophane, paints, fuel, chain lubricants, biodegradable plastics, paper, fiberboard, cement blocks, food, cosmetics, and soap. The Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution were written on hemp paper. Hemp was the number one crop on George Washington's plantation at Mount Vernon. It was the number two crop on Thomas Jefferson's plantation at Monticello.

5. Food

Hemp seed is a highly nutritious source of protein and fatty acids. Hemp seed has the second-highest amount of protein of any food (soya being the highest). It is low in saturated fat. One handful of hemp seed per day will supply adequate protein and essential oils for an adult.

6. Environmental

Hemp normally requires very little fertilizer and grows well almost anywhere. It is pest resistant, so it requires no pesticides. Hemp puts down deep roots, which is good for the soil. Hemp has been known to grow on the same soil for 20 years in a row without any noticeable soil depletion. One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as four acres of trees. Hemp paper is more durable than paper from trees. Hemp requires a growing season of 100 days, while trees must be grown for 20 years or longer before they can be used commercially.

7. Medical

Marijuana has been used as a medicine for 4800 years. It helps epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma. It is a pain killer and an anti-nauseant. Many very sick people are being denied appropriate medical care, because it is a crime for a doctor to prescribe, or even advise, his patients to use marijuana.

8. Pleasure

Finally a reason to legalize marijuana is because it provides pleasure to some people. That is what the anti-drug people really detest. You will notice that there is no movement to outlaw glue, which probably is much worse for you than marijuana. That is because glue sniffing does not provide much pleasure.

The reasons against re-legalization of marijuana are:

1. We must protect our youth from harm

It is often heard that drugs must be illegal, because we love our children and must protect them from harm. This argument is insincere. The prohibitionists do not care one bit about our children. If they really wanted to protect our children from harm, they would outlaw football. Now there is a dangerous activity. It glorifies violence. Every single football player suffers some permanent injury that nags him for the rest of his life. Some are paralyzed from football. Occasionally one dies. Those things do not happen from marijuana use.

Unlike marijuana, football is highly criminogenic. It leads to student riots, public drunkenness, gambling, and ticket scalping. Football has completely corrupted our universities. Football players are terrible role models for our youth. Any prohibitionist that seriously wants to protect children would not be interested in marijuana, but would be fighting to ban football.

2. Marijuana is a gateway drug to hard drugs

Many people, especially government officials, propagate the belief that marijuana is a gateway drug; it leads to use of harder drugs. The fact is that 83% of marijuana users do not graduate to hard drugs.

However, these people will tell you that 95% of cocaine users used marijuana before they used cocaine. They are wrong. Marijuana is used by 99.8% of cocaine users. But let me tell you something else. Milk was used by 100% of cocaine users before they started snorting coke or crack. Milk is the true gateway drug, and it should be made illegal.

Unlike marijuana, which is not addictive, milk is highly addictive to a certain segment of the society; that segment under 6 months of age. Do you know what happens if you take milk away from a milk-addicted baby? The withdrawal symptoms are excruciating. The baby gets terrible stomach pains and screams uncontrollably. It is terrible to hear. Eventually if deprived of the milk, the baby gets sick and dies. There is nothing else known that is this addictive.

If we are going to stamp out hard drugs, we must stamp out milk first. Milk should be made illegal. If a woman gives her baby milk, she should have her breasts removed. Some of you bleeding hearts may say that without milk many babies will die. Probably so, but isn't this preferable to the disease of addiction that inflicts and undermines our society?

3. Irresponsibility should not be rewarded.

It is not right that the responsible people have to care for people that harm themselves. Why should the taxpayers support with welfare and medicare, those irresponsible people that have abused their bodies by using drugs? I say we shouldn't do it. Anyone that abuses his or her body does not deserve government support. That includes illicit drug users, as well as users of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. It includes any one that has an athletic injury or medical problem. Any person that recklessly endangers his or her body should not receive government benefits. That includes anyone that rides a bicycle, drives a car, or flies in an airplane. Many accidents happen in a shower or bath tub. Any person that bathes should be prohibited from partaking in government programs. Mining, farming, and cooking are particularly dangerous. Anyone engaged in these activities should be barred from benefits of all government programs. Why should we responsible people pay the bills of the irresponsible?

Of course, it is only fair that anyone barred from all government programs should be exempt from income and social security taxes. I have just recited for you the Libertarian Party Platform. If you agree with it, register Libertarian, sign up with the Party, and sign the Party petitions. All the necessary papers are available at the Libertarian Party table at this Marijuana Smoke Out.


We are involved in a struggle for the soul of America. The issue is not marijuana. Marijuana is the messenger, not the message. The issue is whether we will live in freedom or under tyranny. Choose freedom. The lighted marijuana weed is the torch of freedom.

I ask that no-one under 18 years old smoke marijuana. We appreciate your support, but if minors smoke, it will hurt our cause. If arrested, give only your name and address. Go limp and make the officers carry you away from the demonstration. Plead not guilty and ask for a speedy, jury trial.

If you are attacked by either police or bystanders, go into the fetal position, and use your hands to protect your head. Under no circumstances, even if provoked, use violence. Thank you for your cooperation.

Smoke a weed and boycott something really harmful, the football game. Thank you for your support.