Recently, for the sake of research, I posed this question in Facebook: “Would making recreational marijuana legal in Ohio be a good thing or a bad thing. “. The results of my highly unscientific poll were interesting and varied. Respondents who I assumed would be against the drug were for it, and others who I had assumed would be for the drug, were against it. One person may have even worked on the staff for the movie Reefer Madness.” For those who did not have an opportunity to participate in the debate, I am including another unscientific poll at the end of this article. Unfortunately, there is not room for explaining your answer, but feel free to avail your self of the comment area at the end of the article.
I should mention that I am not at all qualified to be speaking on this topic. Nonetheless, I am going to do it anyway. I have no personal experience with the drug. Although several opportunities presented themselves while I was in the military, I took the righteous path and declined. I was more afraid of the drug than I was of getting caught. You might say I was scared straight by a co-worker with my father named Elmer Robisch. Elmer Robisch was somewhat of the prototype of today’s DARE Officers. He was assigned to the vice squad but spent his time traveling from school to school discussing drug abuse. So for many years I was quite certain that if I used marijuana one day I would be found with a needle in my arm on another. His lesson kept me smart enough through eight years not to risk brig time and a dishonorable discharge. But that was then, and this is now. Times and mind sets have changed and because of the research I have done, I am less afraid of using marijuana at this point in my life, The only concern I have left is the legality of the use. Until it is made legal I will not use it, exigent circumstances precluded. I honestly do not know if I will or will not try marijuana should it become legal.
Many people have said that using marijuana is no worse than using alcohol. I would agree with that, but I would disagree that abusing marijuana is no worse than abusing alcohol. In my opinion, abusing alcohol is far worse. This is based on personal experience as I have dealt with many users/abusers of both substances over the years and I would much rather have to deal with a pothead than with a drunk. It seems that marijuana gets one high, but not higher, and higher, whereas alcohol will get one drunk, and drunker, and drunker. Most of the arguments for marijuana cross over as arguments for the use of alcohol. Most of the arguments against marijuana cross over with regards of the use of alcohol. The bottom line is that marijuana use is less dangerous than alcohol. The key word for both is moderation, and the ultimate concern for both is that they not be used by under aged children, or women pregnant or nursing. Truly the best course of action for all humanity would be to not put drugs of any kind in your bodies. This would include alcohol, cannabis, nicotine, caffeine, and chocolate. But we all know that just ain’t going to happen. I think we all know a large segment of the population is already using. Making it legal will accomplish much.
As the States of Washington and Colorado have shown, revenue will increase dramatically. With today’s economy, with many cities on the verge of, or already in bankruptcy, the revenue increase can be nothing but good. Our overworked police departments would truly benefit by not having to enforce these laws. I know from experience that I had spent many a shift sitting low in an auto in a parking lot, waiting for someone to light up just so we could jump out and pounce on them. Sometimes we got lucky and scored big, taking down someone with major weight, but the norm was to catch someone with a small baggie of the substance and rolling papers or a pipe. This was probably not the best use of police resources. Government needs to quit enforcing morals. If a person wants to use pot, are of age, and are harming no one, why should it be illegal. Of course, I am sure the naysayers would come up with a number of good reasons, as they light their cigarettes and reach for their beer or highball. Would the government make more money randomly charge an individual $100 for a violation or by charging a tax on each and every marijuana product sold? I think the answer is obvious.
The benefits and medicinal properties of marijuana have been well documented. Who am I to say a small child should not get relief from pain, or a glaucoma patient, or a cancer patient. There is no question in my mind that should such a need ever arise in my family I will be down on the corner, making a purchase, if that is the only way they can get relief. If I have to go to jail because of it, so be it.
The question that bothers me most about all of this is the why. Why is it illegal in the first place? It is a plant that grows in the ground. Why is it okay for me to drink dandelion wine but not okay to smoke a marijuana cigarette? Are not beer, whiskey, and wine all by products of a plant. I think the harmful effects of alcohol far exceed those of marijuana. If it is regulated, taxed, packaged, and sold it will not only help generate revenue, it will help put the illegal pot market out of business. I do think it should be heavily regulated, the same as alcohol. It should not be sold to children, it should not be permitted in schools, it should be packaged in a way that makes it very clear what is contained within. It probably should be sold in package stores, the same as alcohol is today. With those restrictions and precautions in place we will have done our due diligence to protect children. In fact, they will probably be better insulated from the product than they are today.
As far as the argument goes with regards to marijuana being a gateway drug I think the answer is yes and no. Think some people will use marijuana and graduate to the harder stuff. Not because marijuana led them down the path, but because they have an addictive personality and are inclined in that direction. One could argue that beer is a gateway drug to hard liquor and moonshine or coffee is a gate way drug to java and cappuccino. One makes about as much sense as the other. So, as far as I am concerned, it is time. Make it legal, generate the revenue, and get on to worrying about something important.
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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