Legalizing marijuana is a great move for freedom in this country, but that doesn’t make it an endorsement of using the substance.

Cannabis has received a lot of positive promotion in recent years. In an effort to counter the negative stigma and create a path to legalization, this is a good thing. But talk of the drug’s benefits has gone a little overboard.

Sure, it can be used to help some cancer patients or assist people with stomach problems, but it can also be a major contributor to depression and anxiety.

Just about everyone smokes weed during their youth in this day and age.

For most, it is an exciting new world, a relatively innocent change of perspective and a bonding opportunity among friends. However, time proves for many that regular use of the substance can be a limiting factor in personal progress. It can go from a fun way to spend the night once in a while to the only way to have fun every day.

The less time one spends sober, the more that person’s problems can compound and seem insurmountable. It’s not a coincidence that marijuana use and depression often go hand in hand.

The public perception pendulum has swung a touch too far in promotion of marijuana. It’s often recommended for depression, anxiety or other problems, and this seems like poor advice.

It is a recreational drug, just like alcohol. It’s not especially healthy just because it’s a plant. That’s a crazy baseline to judge health by in the first place.

But allowing people to smoke weed, which can be only a personal crime and does not impact anyone else, is the right move for liberty.

People will find their highs no matter what. Banning substances only opens black markets, increases allure for what is off limits, and punishes people for crimes that hurt no one but themselves. We see how effective “dry” communities in the North already are.

There are all sorts of deadly legal addictions. Policing people’s bodies is a fruitless and damaging pursuit.

Moral laws, not legal ones, are what need to be promoted.

Books of rules, no matter how violently enforced, will never resonate as deeply as the innate sense of right and wrong that is fostered through generations of positive upbringing.

Legality doesn’t carry with it moral authority to use.

The federal government’s legalization of cannabis is a good change, but the focus needs to be less on the celebration of a drug and more on the gift of freedom and the responsibility that comes with it.

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