Criminal Justice: Marijuana Before the Bench

The social value of discouraging crimes against others is clear; as a result, there is little resistance to laws that prohibit murder, robbery or rape.

The social value of deterring crimes against oneself is more debatable — especially when there is no proof that the outlawed conduct causes harm. Most lawyers agree, therefore, that laws prohibiting private acts such as drinking are an unnecessary and unwarranted restraint on individual freedom, and little more than an attempt to legislate morality. Now that argument—and others —is being used in a major attack on federal...

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