sander- you really need to smoke a joint and mellow out. IS smoking pot harmful. Some people say it is, some folks say it isn't. Depends on who's evidence it is. I find it hard to believe that sucking in smoke that burns brain cells isn't harmful, but I am not going to get into that with you. I am saying that laws exist for reasons, usually as the outcome of government policy decided by bargains between the government and social forces with which the state is forced to deal. As such there are no natural civil liberties. The notion of natural civil liberties is a normative argument- a nice idea but without historic fact. You are making the notion, a normative one, that a person should be allowed to do just about anything that he wants, even if it hurts himself, and that's a civil liberty. Historically that isn't true. Historically suicide was a crime. And there are rules against all sorts of harmful behavior that hurts no one but yourself. So history indicates that your definition of a civil liberty is too broad and fuzzy. Add that to the possibility that the trade and use of marijuana might have harmful social effects. You say it doesn't. A person gets shot because of a drug deal, a family loses it's savings because the father is a stoner, worker productivity goes down because people prefer to smoke pot, investable capital that could go into productive growth is given to dealers for a recreational drug. These are all possible harmful social effects. There are more. A civil right is a right so central to the individual and so essential to the maintenance of the political order that losing such a right would be germane to losing one of the fundamental values of a society. Such, the right to free speech, to assemble, to practice a religion, habeas corpus, right to remain silent, right to legal representation, of fair adjudication, to be free of involuntary servitude, to vote--- Those are essential civil rights that make a working democratic society possible. What is a civil right determines a relationship between the individual and society. Whether a person has the right to harm themselves is another point. For example the idea of assisted suicide, or the right to die, is hotly contested in some countries. The power of the state to put someone to death is contested abuse of state power. The right to an abortion is especially a battle between the woman's right to her own body vs the right of the unborn fetus to have a life. Those civil rights define the limits of personhood and what a person is allowed to do or be free of government oppression. Never has a person had an unlimited right to do what they want if it doesn't hurt anyone else- simply because the state has an interest in the welfare of the society and the lose of a single member is harmful to that society as well. A person engaged in a trade that has harmful social effects or which has ancilliary harmful effects, as noted above, is not a civil right. You're conceptualization of a civil right is overly broad- basically you are saying "anything goes." Ok, then beastiality would be perfectly legal. Selling your property as a dumping ground for hazardous waste would be legal. Shooting off a 9mm into your backyard would be perfectly legal even if it's in an urban area. Those acts have never been considered civil rights because the harmful consequences to society outweigh the benefits to the individual, and those actions do not define the essential boundaries of the legal relationship between a citizen and the state.