Saturday, December 16, 2017

Since you asked...

       A good friend of mine recently became engaged. Before that came about, he asked his future bride’s father for his permission and blessing. It’s something men have doing for centuries, clear back to Old Testament times, I’m told. Sometimes the father would sweeten the pot with a couple of goats and some chickens, just to make sure his daughter’s suitor didn’t back out. I don’t think fathers do that so much anymore, and I’m not sure how many men still ask these days. I know I skipped that step when I was courting my wife, mostly because I was pretty sure her father would have said “Absolutely not!”, or possibly something a bit more colorful to express his displeasure. And I knew he didn’t have any goats or chickens anyway.

            But, regardless of my father-in-law’s thoughts and opinions (he often said the devil owed him a debt and paid him off with son-in laws,) I’m satisfied I made the right call in not asking. My wife and I have been pretty evenly yoked for nearly 42 years. It seems often times you’re better off asking forgiveness instead of permission.

            Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill recently decided (and Governor Eric Holcomb backed him up,) that cannabinoid oil, or CBD, is illegal in Indiana. CBD is a medicinal oil made from hemp, which is related to marijuana, and therein lies the rub.  Although CBD doesn’t contain THC, the active (or inactive) ingredient found in marijuana, it still has managed to incur the wrath of the pharmaceutical industry and by extension, the hierarchy in our Hoosier government. CBD has shown positive signs of healing or relief in many people from the symptoms of Parkinson’s, anxiety, seizures in adults and children, diabetes, and numerous other health problems some people face every day. Even if not every person benefits from its use, there is certainly enough evidence to allow people to use it if they feel it helps them or a loved one.

We shouldn’t have to ask the government’s permission to use a medicine or anything that improves our quality of life and doesn’t harm anyone else. If you stop and think about it, for a free people, we spend entirely too much time asking the government for permission in all areas of our lives.

            Luckily, we have a few options for relief until the politicians and their sponsors can be convinced to do the right thing. Whenever the government charges a person for doing something without permission, and puts that person on trial for their supposed offense, jurors have the option of finding that person not guilty, even if they have in fact violated a law. It’s called jury nullification, and the Indiana Constitution provides for it in Article 1, Section 19, stating “In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.”

            Thomas Jefferson said that it is the natural progress for liberty to yield and government to grow. We have no doubt witnessed that. It has become increasingly difficult to name three things that the government doesn’t tax or regulate, and with every session of congress the list of things that require government permission continues to grow. And some judges will rule that jurists don’t have the right to nullify bad laws.

            But you do, and you don’t even have to ask.


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