An Issue of Civil Rights
The issue of drug freedom is, without question, one of civil rights. Adults should be able to choose what they do, and do not, put into their own bodies. There is no more basic freedom than this.
The American Civil Liberties Union, an organization dedicated to defending our civil rights, states: "The ACLU has opposed the outright criminalization of drugs since 1968, believing that the best way to deal with drugs is regulation, not incarceration."
In fact, drug legislation in the United States began largely as a way to oppress key groups of people by bigoted legislators. American immigrants from all backgrounds (Chinese, Filipino, Hispanic, Black, and more) were subject to laws designed to prohibit the types of drugs used by their culture or religion. Issues of health, public safety, or criminal behavior were barely even considered during the outlawing of most drugs. Read the racist history drug prohibition.
Shedding the Past
One could argue that these laws arose from a time when racism was common, and that our society (and lawmakers) are more enlightened today. If only that were the case! The ACLU and other civil rights groups continue to be concerned with the apparent slant of the drug laws against African-Americans. Find out how racist thinking still affects drug legislation today.
It's About Freedom!
As disturbing as this is, however, there's still an even more fundamental issue. Drug use is about personal freedom, something that our society considers a very basic human right. Yet that right is being ignored or stomped upon every day by our respective governments. Regardless of your feeling on the benefits or dangers of using any particular drug, this issue should be one of utmost importance to anyone that values freedom.