The Consumption of Marijuana from a Legal and Philosophical Viewpoint

Guillermo José Mañón Garibay

Abstract

In this note I argue that the decriminalization (or authorization) of marijuana use should be considered with an eye to the evil it avoids instead of to the good it seeks. The debate about the decriminalization/permission of the consumption of marijuana in Mexico is set within the context of the individual freedom and the damage to health produced by its consumption. Other related issues result from this approach, such as individual responsibility and the duty of the State to seek the social good. How can one justify the decriminalization of marijuana considering the duty of the state? How can the harmful craving for it be understood given the alleged natural inclination towards personal wellbeing (axiom of Western culture)? The response has to do with the exercise of power by the State, in the definition of what is healthy and harmful, normal and pathological, because the concepts “healthy” and “harmful” have ideological uses (in the sense of the 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon). Secondly, we cannot ignore the discomfort caused by social life, due to the demands on public duty at the expense of private interests. This results in a tension between the individual and society that is only mitigated by tolerance for drug abuse, alcohol or permission of “red zones,” because only in this way are social conflicts dissipated.

Keywords

Liberty, responsibility, human dignity, health, disease, responsibility of the State, social tensions, Marijuana, decriminalization

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