Three Lafayette citizens stood up and spoke to the City-Parish Council again Tuesday about the decriminalization of marijuana on the eve of yet another public assembly downtown for the legalization of marijuana by the advocacy group Legalize Louisiana, which held a rally just last month at the Lafayette Parish Courthouse.

“I’m here to heighten the awareness to the people’s movement to legalize marijuana and truly have liberty for all,” said Paige Haggerty, who previously spoke to the council in support of decriminalizing cannabis. “Liberty is based on the principle of self-ownership. Everyone owns their own lives, no person has a higher claim on your life than you do.Our lives are manifested in time – to lose our life is to lose our future, to lose our liberty is to lose our present and to lose our product of our life and liberty is to lose that portion of our past."

Haggerty said much of her speech was credited to Ken Schoolland, who wrote an animated short on YouTube titled "The Philosophy of Liberty."

“We need to think, to talk and to act – especially when it’s easier to do nothing,” she added. “To take away the people’s right to the medicinal, economical and recreational production and consumption of marijuana is to impose a personal choice. We will not be submissive because we are not intimidated and we will not be silenced because it is easier. And we will not act obediently because we were told so. We demand recognition and action as we, the representatives of Legalize Louisiana, demand liberty for all.”

Dave Lucito, who is organizing the scheduled march on Wednesday, April 20, for Legalize Louisiana, also spoke, citing numerous Bible verses including  Exodus 30:22-23 and Genesis 1:29 before describing a recent finding made by the National Cancer Institute.

“The National Cancer Institute just put out information regarding meta studies that they did showing that cannabinoids may cause anti-tumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis,” said Lucito. “Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their non-transformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death. The potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct anti-tumor effect.”

Lacy Johnson also spoke to the council specifically about legalizing the hemp plant.

“If all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as trees for paper and construction, were banned in order to save the planet, reverse the greenhouse effect and stop deforestation,” said Johnson, “then there is only one known annually renewable resource that is capable of providing the overall majority of the world’s paper, textiles and meeting all of the world’s transportation, industrial and home energy needs while simultaneously reducing pollution, rebuilding the soil and cleaning the atmosphere at the same time – it’s cannabis.”

Johnson also listed several overlooked examples from America’s early history with the hemp plant, including how America’s first marijuana law was enacted in Jamestown in 1619 ordering farmers to grow hemp and that cannabis was legal tender in America from 1631 to 1800 in an effort to get more farmers to grow larger quantities of the plant.

“It doesn’t make any sense why we haven’t legalized the growing of hemp,” she concluded. “There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s got less than 0.3 percent of THC and that’s not even a drug. It’s a very strong, very good material. It can rebuild the ozone layers. We can tax it and make money for our schools. There’s so many benefits and it’s really immoral not to have it.”

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