Melissa Moschella , assistant professor, philosophy, was quoted in the Pilot on the ethics of legalizing marijuana. See below.

The moral dimension of legalizing recreational marijuana

From: Pilot Date: June 26, 2015 Author: Brian Fraga


"It seems very clear that as opposed to alcohol, marijuana has significant health risks even when used in moderation," said Melissa Moschella, a philosophy professor at the Catholic University of America.

"I think that's a really important difference. There are legitimate and non-harmful ways to drink alcohol whereas there really is no non-harmful way to take marijuana," Moschella said.

It can be argued that not everything sinful or harmful should be illegal. Writing in the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas said that not every sin should be forbidden in secular law if the prohibition causes more problems than it solves. The prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s is a prime example.

Marijuana advocates often cite Prohibition to argue for cannabis' legalization, saying that the national drug war has led to thousands of non-violent marijuana users being incarcerated. Moschella says that is a false argument and that certain reforms can be implemented without full legalization.

Moschella also said the law has a teaching dimension.

"Laws just don't forbid or allow things. They also educate," Moschella said. "The legalization of marijuana would send a very strong message to people that using this isn't so bad or it's not dangerous, and it will lead to increased use."


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