Although the basis of this article is not going to be centered around the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech and Expression, but for Freedom of Speech and expression and the First Amendment, the subject of this article could never take place. Over the last decade and in actuality, the last half decade, there have been monumental changes in this country. Changes that cannot and will not be reversed and changes that will only be expanded.
For those of you who are our contemporaries or older, none of us would have
envisioned the country of today. For those of you who are younger, you might also not have
envisioned the society that we are living in as we speak.
Going to college back in the ’70’s, there was always the hope that marijuana would
be legalized. Never did we ever think that would be the case, but rather we certainly had the
arguments that it was no worse than alcohol or even safer. We argued that tobacco was just
as bad for your lungs, if not worse. We championed that it was someone’s right and freedom
to enjoy the herb. But through all of those arguments, we just never expected that it would
Now, medical marijuana is legal in numerous states around the country and it is legal
to sell and possess marijuana in Colorado and in Washington. Here, in the great State of
Florida, polls show that medical marijuana has a great chance of passing in November. Even
the Federal government, which refuses to take it off the list of drugs that are dangerous and
have no medical value, have yielded to the states and are no longer enforcing Federal law
when contrary to the local state law.
Although possibly scarey to those who oppose the legalization of marijuana and
believe it to be that gateway drug, it is obvious that the train is heading down the tracks and that medical marijuana is here to stay. As time passes and statistics will show that the
legalization of marijuana has not caused the decline of society and the decay of civilization
in the locales that have it legalized, other states will join in and Colorado and Washington
will not be alone. None of this could have happened but for Freedom of Speech and
Expression. But for Freedom of Speech and Expression, those who advocate the legalization
of marijuana, whether on a medical term or for all, would have not been able to speak. But
for the First Amendment, the countless movies showing characters partaking of the weed
would not have been allowed. But for the First Amendment, celebrities who have a great
influence on our society would not have been able to openly talk about the times that they did
The other change, possibly even more dramatic and more surprising to our
contemporaries, is gay marriages. The writing is obviously on the wall and it certainly scares many that it is just a matter of time before gay marriage is allowed throughout this country.Back in the ’70’s when we were thinking about the legalization of marijuana, we never
contemplated the concept of gay marriage, let alone the legalization of the same. People had
just barely started coming out of the closet but the majority of the closets were still full.
Gay people were not clamoring for gay rights, but rather were clamoring for gay protection as
rights were not the issue, but safety was.
Nowadays everybody has a friend or a family relative or someone that they closely
know that is gay. Back then, people talked about the family that had someone in it who was
openly gay. Back then, sodomy laws made homosexual sex a crime, so the concept of gay
marriage had not even been conceived.
Yet, through the First Amendment, gay pride marches and gay right marches were
held. Due to the First Amendment, television programs and sitcoms show gay characters
who were not scarey but people. Through the First Amendment, gays became politically
active and voiced their opinions and even ran for office openly acknowledging who and what
Because of the First Amendment and our ability in this country to speak our mind, to
speak about things that are illegal, to present opinions and to foster change, the world that
we are living in today is one that could not have been dreamt about back in our college days.
And yes, it is owed to the First Amendment. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia have just
concluded. All of these things that we have spoken about that allow for gay marriage to
ultimately occur are banned and criminalized in Russia. The television characters, the movie
characters, the openly gay conversations and openly gay affection towards one another would
all land someone in jail, but for the First Amendment.
There are some that would say that we are worse off because of the new marijuana
laws and gay marriage. There are some that would do anything to turn back the clock. And
we know that there are some that would do these things because they too have First
Amendment Rights and are able to voice them. They too have the right to express why gay
rights and gay marriage should not be allowed. They too have the right to argue on the evils
of marijuana. They too have the right to find out that no matter how much they argue and
express their First Amendment rights, that others have equal rights not to listen. Still the
train is rolling down the tracks, it has left the station and it ain’t coming back.