Wednesday, November 07, 2012

United States of Tokers?

Colorado and Washington State both passed initiatives to legalize marijuana. This is pretty historic stuff since in other states the battle still rages over medicinal uses of the drug.  Additionally, the federal government still considers pot a controlled substance and it's verboten in all 50 states, even for medical use, but some states chose to ignore that.

What I think is happening is that people are realizing that marijuana is no more dangerous than America's drug-of-choice, alcohol.  In fact, it might be less dangerous since few if any deaths have occurred from pot-overdose unless you count the ensuing obesity from eating too many brownies.

The main barrier against pot becoming legal is the private sector.  Private prisons, a growing phenomena, are filled to the rafters with people arrested for using or dealing marijuana, and without the criminalization of that drug they will lose money.  I suspect law enforcement folks would welcome the decriminalization since it would free them up to do other things, and the gangs who deal the drug would suddenly become obsolete.

I am a tea-bottler and haven't used any mind altering substance, save caffeine  since 1986, but I have lots of friends who do and as far as I can tell, few of them have become hardened criminals. I think the old saw about Marijuana being a gateway drug only holds true as long as users are forced underground.  It may be time we reexamined our attitudes toward cannabis and found some middle ground.  Meanwhile, if you live in Colorado or Washington, don't break out the bongs yet.

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