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Monday, January 6, 2014

Should Marijuana Be Legalized for Recreational Use?

English: one high-quality "bud " nug...
English: one high-quality "bud " nugget of marijuana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
      In Colorado 2014 started off with legitimate marijuana outlets opened to recreational users of this popular substance.   Medical marijuana has been available in a number of states in the past years, and now  recreational marijuana through legal channels is being pondered in many states with Colorado opening the door for sales.

     Governments have their grip over controlling many aspects of our lives.  They say what we can own, use, or eat and under what control.   Prohibition of alcohol has already been tried with little success and much harm.  The war on drugs has been much the same.

      When government interferes and prevents the legitimate marketplace from profiting from drug sales the enterprise is criminalized and goes to the black market economy.  Government loses valuable taxation revenue and blows enormous sums on trying to stop the "bad guys".  The problem is that a dark industry develops with the underworld and criminal element profiting and controlling the product and sales.

       No real good seems to have come from a "War on Drugs" and the demand has not been decreased.  When government decides what we can do, use, or eat then it's just another attempt at mind control and keeping the population in check.  Bad news for the future in my opinion.

       Do you think legalization of recreational marijuana should go nationwide?   What is the real provable harm in marijuana usage, especially compared to legal substances such as alcohol, tobacco, meat, sugar, or anything that can be demonstrated to be harmful?   Should any other drugs be available for legal commercial sales?  Should any food products be banned?

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  1. I think any drug should be supervised my the medics. If taken not legally one don't know what harm you may be doing to yourself.
    Good topic Lee.

    Take care.

  2. I know they keep saying its effects are no worse than alcohol, but it's still the double whammy of being a drug and smoking, the worst thing in the world you can do to your body.
    Besides, if the government tries to control it and make money off it, we know that won't happen. Look at their stellar money-making record so far.

  3. We've been trying to eliminate the two inherent vices in society for years now, not by prohibition (though that's been tried before) but by pointing out how stupid it is to use them. Why would we want to deliberately add a third option? Just because we can make money off of it? Isn't that the same as saying porn should be shown in mainstream theaters? Legalizing it is the same as saying we can see a legitimate long-term use for it. When we all know that we'll sooner rather than later only come around to mounting the very same campaign against it anyway. We have to nip this one in the bud. As it were. There's no point in backsliding now, just because people figured out you can sell it as a quack medicine.

  4. Outside of medicinal use, it has no benefits. And why give the government something more to control?

  5. Like I said on Saturdays MWN, look at the news that has come out of Colorado the last couple years, and ask yourself whether its a good idea to legalize MJ there.

  6. Absolutely. Legalize it. Everyone I know smokes weed. I have used it daily since the 80s and have encountered ZERO problems with it. ZERO. My health is excellent. It didn't lead to any other drug use. I don't drink. I'm shocked at the comments above mine, saying there's no reason to legalize it. It would be a cash cow for the govt. When was the last time you heard of someone smoking weed and beating the crap out of their families? Getting in terrible car accidents? Only NEVER. Open your minds people!! If you are OK w/ alcohol being legal, and that does far worse damage to a person than pot, then pot should be legal too. My ex husband also smoked pot every day but you know what killed him? Alcoholism. His liver failed and he died at 52.

    Remember, smoking a little bit of weed is NOTHING like smoking a pack of cigarets a day. Seriously. The amount is miniscule compared to cigs.

  7. I'm with Alex on this one. Smoking is one of the most unhealthy things you can do and marijuana is unfiltered and grown in questionable sanitary conditions, often fertilized with human waste. And I always feel people who enjoy mind-altering substances just announce to the world that they don't like themselves in their natural forms.

  8. Yeah... I'm staying out of this one, Lee. Hope you don't mind. :-P

  9. I only have to read your blog title. The answer is emphatically YES!

    No one should be in pain. Ever.

    I stopped smoking weed a long long time ago. But compared to alcohol which is legal, and the disasterous effects it has on individuals families and society as a whole, its clear out government legalized the wrong drug.

  10. Polarizing the drug with government freak out sure as hell aint going to fix anything that's broken. Marijuana has medical uses and if it is legalized within those limits, I think it would be a great start.

  11. Humans have been using various substances to alter consciousness since forever. There are other ways to ingest marijuana besides smoking it. And if the only reason to legalize it is for health benefits, then why is alcohol legal? Other than wine having some medical value, we all know how dangerous it is. BUT, we learned from prohibition that making alcohol illegal only caused more crime. You'd think the government would have learned it's lesson. Better to legalize pot and regulate it. It will help eliminate the criminal element.

    I think a big part of the problem is that the judicial/prison system is BIG BUSINESS. Take pot out of the equation and they're going to loose a lot of money.

  12. Lee-

    I almost posted "YES" without reading the post, or the comments.

    While I hear the point of Alex and others (this is smoking, not a great health outcome), I would point out to them that most casual users would not smoke the equivalent of a two pack a day cigarette habit. I wonder whether any statistics exist on how unhealthy a typical usage pattern really is.

    Anyone who has spent time in bars can attest to the aggressive behavior of people who drink.

    Agressive behavior is simply IMPOSSIBLE when you're stoned.

    I will be interested in how this goes in Washington and Colorado, but I would anticipate that the other states are going to get on the bandwagon if they see revenue potential.

    Did all my pot jokes on roast day inspire this one?


  13. If alcohol is legal (with its many associated problems) I don't see how weed can be seen as something 'other'. If you allow recreational drug use (as in alcohol) then there can be no moral or commonsense objection to weed.

    What you can (and do) have is people with vested interests pushing for one over the other, not because it's "right" but because it benefits them personally in some way.

    Moody Writing

  14. I've blogged on the topic a couple of times and find people shy away from the subject. I think it has been criminalized for so long that just the mention of the word causes people to not want to be part of even talking about it. As a person with a knee injury and chronic back pain I personally won't take what is offered by the great docs of this world. I've seen docs write scripts like they were handing out lollipops. I'll take my chances with the OTC med's like Aleve. Marijuana is a plant and medicine is made from plants. I have read on studies being done regarding it's use in those with chronic pain- both sides, the good and bad.
    Great post and great response from both sides of the issue!

  15. Well, I was going to go into some long thing but, after reading the other comments, I'll just say this:
    Legalize the hell out of it and, then, tax the hell out of it. And not just with marijuana. And not just with drugs.

  16. So far marijuana laws are actually costing more than they're producing and 37 people died on the first day of legalization from overdoses. Also, we worked so hard to stamp out cigarette smoking, why open up a new avenue? Imposing morals in government is not against the law, nor should it be. For one, if given the societal choice, no one would ever work, wear clothes, or enter into stable relationships, which would lead to the human race starving.

  17. I would prefer stricter alcohol laws as well, by the way. Not overly authoritarian, but enough to cut back on the whole "accidentally killing people with vehicles while drunk" and "scarring children for life" problems.

  18. I've got no problem with it being legal. It's less dangerous than alcohol. Almost any argument against it could be made for liquor or cigarettes. Making it legal would take down some of the dangerous crime organizations that rely on it. It's not for me, and I think there will always be a certain stigma to it, but that's the case with a lot of stuff.

  19. As a kid who grew up in a decent housing projects only to see it decimated to a drug infested location after the words "war on drugs" fell free, well, my thoughts may be biased by darker personal experiences. I'm not sure if the question of legalization is the real question since it seems legal drugs have a crazy pharmaceutical claw-hold in things.

  20. Question: if its legalized, how do you, as an employer, go about disciplining an employee who is stoned at work and comes up with the excuse that it's medicinal.

    Personally, I don't care what you want to do in your personal life, but at the work place, use some common sense.

  21. As long as it's not a drug that's very likely to cause you to behave in a way that's harmful to others (like meth or something like that) I don't think it should be illegal. Adults should be allowed to choose what they want to put into their bodies. The government isn't our mother, so doesn't need to tell us not to smoke, eat too much fat, drink soda, etc. Potentially harmful substances should come with serious warnings (like cigarettes do), but if you're an adult, buying it on your own dime, you should be allowed to.

    Interesting topic.

  22. Patrick, with all due respect, you really need to vet your information before spreading the false hoax that people died from a pot overdose. Give me a break. You cannot OD on weed.

    Susan, if your passive aggressive comment was directed at me, all I can do is laugh. I have an AWESOME life and am quite happy with myself with or without weed. Some people like to kick back with some wine, others like me don't drink but also enjoy some relaxation.

  23. Just pulled into my hotel in Orlando (an unplanned stop) and I'm beat after driving all day so I won't respond individually.

    Very interesting discussion on this one. Listening to the reports coming from Colorado I see that the marijuana is being grown in highly controlled environments so that eliminates most of the concerns about sanitation. Also I see that they are experimenting with other delivery systems besides smoking it.

    As the industry grows and more study is done I think many of the problems would be eliminated and marijuana would prove to be far safer than alcohol or cigarettes.

    The current drug laws create a negative revenue for the government and a huge take for the criminal elements.

    Also, I'm not sure that many who are against pot smoking have actually tried it or they may have anecdotal negative evidence based on faulty information.

    As to the 37 fatal overdoses in Colorado, that was a joke. In reality there have been no known overdoses due to smoking pot.

    Now off to bed for me. What a drive today!


  24. JoJo-- Thank you for that additional comment. I understand where you're coming from.


  25. Personally, I don't see it as all that big a deal. And yes, I'm one who sees it about as harmful as alcohol. I doubt legalizing it will make a dent in the pocket of drug organizations.

    Who really knows for sure though. You can make a research say anything you want.



    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    Did you know what that was, Lee?

    That was my I've-just-smoked-a-doobie-and-have-become-lethargic-and-disinterested-in-everything-else response.

    Not a bad impersonation for a guy who never really was a pot-smoker, eh?

    Most of my friends smoked pot back in the day though, so I know that "zoned-out" attitude really well. Pretty much the only thing that can penetrate that "Whatever"-induced doobie shield is this question: Should we go buy some potato chips and Cheetos?

    For the record though, I think each state should decide for itself whether or not marijuana should be legalized. And personally, I say treat it in a manner similar to alcohol. I have no problem with people getting high, but I don't want them behind the wheel at the same time.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  28. I live in Washington state in a college town on Idaho border, near another college town just 8 miles away. If DUIs and underage drinking weren't bad enough, now we have to deal with legalization of pot! Our city council and law officials are worried. Sorry, short answer is NO to pot. Leave the medicine to our doctors and pharmacists please.

  29. My main beef with drugs as a whole is their effect on the brain. They impair or drastically change someone's ability to think. Some artists have used this to great effect. I personally don't see the point in producing something great in an altered state. What are you without it? Although to be fair, a high-functioning individual will only have their cognitive ability enhanced, so I'm won't argue against that. But the majority of drug users are not high-functioning individuals.

    As far as I'm concerned, the only debate here is why people try to talk about marijuana as anything other than a pain reliever alternative (because we have, y'know, other forms, and the point someone brought up earlier about it be plant and therefore "natural" is pretty weak). Let's be honest, this is a smokescreen at best. Weed makes at least a temporary idiot out of anyone. Yes, it blocks pain receptors. But it blocks everything else out, too. I'm not in favor of something that makes anymore idiots in this world, for the record.

  30. Great topic Lee!
    The law doesn't make it any more or less available. It is VERY easy to get just about anywhere.

    In fact, when the 20 states that currently allow the use of Marijuana for medicinal purposes (wink wink) did so, what they actually did was legalize it.

    Getting "certified" for a prescription is no harder than getting a flu shot at your local pharmacy or supermarket.

    When you get the prescription, you also get a card and certificate that allows you to purchase it where ever it is sold. The card and/or certificate can also be presented to the local authorities if needed.

    You don't have to prove that you have any sort of affliction or pain to get certified. They prescribe based on what you tell them. There is no testing involved. If you walk into a marijuana dispensary to purchase, you are not going to just see people on crutches, in wheelchairs, limping, or in obvious pain. You are going to see people from every walk of life and of all ages, that just want to smoke or ingest marijuana, but don't want to get busted for it.

    Getting arrested for using or possessing marijuana is another part of this whole thing, because unless you are selling it, you ARE NOT going to get arrested even if you don't have a prescription. You might get a ticket, but probably not even that. Many police departments now think that it's a waste of time. Some cities have instructed their PD's to NOT bust people for simple possession.

    The authorities know who is using this stuff. For all intents and purposes, recreational usage was decriminalized the moment they opened the door for medical usage.

    If you are driving on the freeway and you have your choice of the driver of the car next to you being under the influence of marijuana or alcohol, which one are you going to choose? You are going to choose the first one every time. Of course, he probably isn't going to be beside you anyway, because he's driving slower than you are and being extra careful. If you don't know why I say this, it's because you have NEVER smoked pot!

    Even after all this there are folks who are DEAD SET against legalization of recreational marijuana usage under any circumstances. Somebody has to be paying for all the anti-marijuana commercials, right? Do you know who those groups are?

    Pharmaceutical Corporations - for obvious reasons.

    Beer and hard liquor Companies - for obvious reasons.

    Private Prison Companies - send less people to prison and these companies will no longer be needed.

    Police Unions - PD's across the country have become dependent on "drug war" monies to keep them afloat. This groups have even lobbied for stricter penalties for simple possession.

    Prison Guard Unions - Easy one. Less prisoners, less jobs.

    Oh yeah, there is absolutely zero evidence that marijuana is in any way related to lung, or any other type of cancer. Unless you are a chronic smoker (or booze drinker), it will not make an idiot out of you. One of the above comments said that "the majority of drug users are not high-functioning individuals." He also said that "weed makes at least a temporary idiot out of anyone". What absurd and idiotic statements! That person has no idea who is and who isn't smoking pot and how it affects them. Yes, there are pot heads out there who smoke it entirely too much. But most users are not in that category.

  31. More great comments--thank you all!

    StMc-- I think it also depends on the user. Some people are lazy without the weed and I don't think that using marijuana causes the proclivity to have the "whatever syndrome". I've known many pot users who are productive and function well in society and vice versa.

    Pat-- Your comment pretty well covers the pro-pot argument in the short version. Well said.


  32. >>... Some people are lazy without the weed

    LEE ~
    Well, OF COURSE some people are lazy without the weed. I happen to be one of them.

    >>... and I don't think that using marijuana causes the proclivity to have the "whatever syndrome". I've known many pot users who are productive and function well in society and vice versa.

    Well, OF COURSE that's true too. I wasn't saying that pot smokers are ALWAYS in the "Whatever" frame of mind.

    I was referring to their state of mind WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE ONLY!

    Did you REALLY think I was stating that ALL people who smoke pot are SLOW AND STUPID even when they aren't high on ganja?

    Come on!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  33. Normally the question would be, "What are you smoking?" but we already know the answer. It's naive at best to assume that the majority of people who promote the use of marijuana for medical purposes are going to admit that its abuse is more common than its strict medical use. That's the whole point. By granting easier access to it, you're not making it better but rather making it easier to abuse. You can't have it both ways. Marijuana is a drug. Just because someone figured out you could promote it for medicinal benefits doesn't mean that it stops being a drug with harmful side-effects. And that's the whole point. Any drug with harmful side-effects is a terrible drug to use medicinally. And if it's questionable then you shouldn't be promoting it.

    So it's natural to assume that anyone promoting it is not really doing so for its medicinal value. I'm not questioning that part of it. I'm questioning why anyone would support something that's known as a drug and not as a medicine. Yes, you're trying to change the message. But you're not really succeeding. You're just trying to make it legal. My whole point is, we're making such good strides towards finally making people aware that smoking regular cigarettes is after all a bad thing. Why introduce something that could potentially be far worse?

    Whether or not you admit that marijuana is not all rainbows and butterflies, you have to admit that it has the potential for abuse. Alcohol in moderation, in the form of wine, can also be a good thing. People abuse that like crazy. We try to fight that, too. That's my point. I get it. You have an agenda. Everyone who promotes marijuana has the same agenda. You want it to not sound so bad. Fine. I grant you that you can make it sound not so bad.

    But please just take a moment to acknowledge that the people on the other side of the argument are not crazy for thinking it's not such a good thing. You can't just say we're crazy and think you win the argument. Maybe I was wrong to liberally use the term "idiot," but the wider point stands.

  34. It also strikes me that marijuana supporters lean so heavily on tobacco and alcohol fatalities. Death is not the only terrible outcome from abusing something. It would be a shame if people really believed that.

  35. While what is 'legal' is hardly an issue for most people who would bother to ingest this type of substance into their bodies, I will answer your question with my own experiences with what happens to people who smoke pot.
    When my own mother wasn't beating me or coming up with another 'scam' for me to perpetrate for her, she was high. Constantly. All the time.
    She spent a good 50% of her day looking to get high or smoking a bong in the bathroom.
    I feel strongly that my mother has never dealt with her mental illness issues because she can simply smoke pot and avoid reality.
    All her friends who did pot as well were the biggest losers I have ever met. None of them had anything much going for them. They all liked get rich quick schemes and tried to work as little as possible to survive. Oh, and they enjoyed taking things from people who actually worked hard to get them.
    Finally, I will say that when 'medical marijuana' was legalized here in WA state, my best friends family got involved in making a business of it. Now they are all estranged from each other and fight constantly about the money from the 'business'. Oh, and many of them are so high now that you can't even hold a conversation with them. And these were people who hadn't really ever even done the drug before this. And they all used to have real jobs- now none of them do. My friend literally lost her family to pot.
    So you can guess what I think of this, right?!

  36. Dope is illegal in this country. I'm curious to know when marijuana was banned worldwide and why. As far as I know hemp was also banned in order to make way for the production of paper from wood pulp, dope is of course a type of hemp plant.
    From my own experience, stopping smoking cigarettes is a huge undertaking whereas not smoking dope isn't at all difficult. I used to smoke "pot" but haven't had any for ages, no problem. I'm in the process of quitting cigarettes and am proud of myself for eventually getting down to only two or three a day. Cigarettes are addictive, no doubt about it, ganja on the other hand, not so sure, too easy to quit.
    And no, dope did not cause me to become idiotic. I did however find myself thinking far more deeply on such diverse subjects as "Why are all the globes depicting the world always manufactured with the north pole at the top?" and so on.
    Should marijuana be legalized? I no longer smoke it so don't really care one way or the other.
    I will say this though, someone who is stoned will take much longer to complete a task that requires quick decisions. Don't smoke at work or go to work stoned.

  37. Thanks for the additional comments on this topic.



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