In the current debate over drug policy, there are many terms for people who don't think recreational or unauthorized medicinal drug use should be severely punished. "Liberalization" generally refers to a policy of reducing penalties and overlooking minor drug use, without indicating any social sanction and without permitting large-scale sale or manufacture. "Decriminalization" is similar. "Legalization" refers to permitting the sale, regulated or unregulated, of currently illicit drugs.

"Relegalization" breaks out of the box, in a way. It points out that we wouldn't be legalizaing something fundamentally illegal, but ceasing to deny the people a right which they had until governments took it away. It is easy to forget, sometimes, that governments are given permission by the people to regulate their behavior in specific ways, in exchange for their useful services. They are not inherent parts of life and they are not there to give us rights or permit us to do anything. These ideas, expressed explicitly in the American Bill of Rights, tenth amendment, are brought to mind when we state that we favor relegalization, that we're not asking the government to permit us to smoke marijuana, but telling it to stop forbidding us to do so.

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