Tuesdays Opinions: Legalizing Marijuana, Should It Be Done?

Hey folks!  It's Tuesday and it's Election Day!  As always, on Tuesdays I prefer to talk about my opinions on certain topics.  Usually it's a book-related topic, but since it's Election Day, I think I'll talk about one of those issues that have been cropping up in the news lately.  And that's about the legalization of marijuana that's been going on in a few states.

Let me begin by saying that, besides alcohol, I have never, nor will I ever, do drugs.  I am not a pothead, nor am I even remotely curious about what getting high is like.  The only drug I do take every once in a while is alcohol, and even then I rarely get drunk.  I was always the good girl who paid attention in school, so I believed the guest speakers who said that drugs will kill you.  To top it off I have a social worker for a husband, who deals with people with addictions on a daily basis, so there’s a lot factors in my life that have convinced me that drugs are bad.

With that being said, I do think marijuana should be legalized throughout the entire country.

We can all agree that marijuana isn't all that great for you, but then again, it isn’t any worse for you than cigarettes or alcohol.  I looked up the side effects on drugabuse.gov, and compared them to the side effects of tobacco and alcohol, and based on that, I think my hunch is right.  Pot, tobacco, and alcohol are all similarly bad for you, but two are legal, and one isn’t.

Now, this is my point of view, and just an opinion, but it seems to me that if pot is as equally unhealthy as the other two, then perhaps it should be legalized, and not just for medical purposes.  The reason I think it should be legalized is because of the number of people who get into trouble with the law for smoking pot.  According to drugabuse.gov, marijuana is “the most common illicit drug used in the United States”.  People go to jail because of this stuff.  Drug dealers and gangs sell it on the streets.  It’s causing crime and conflict when there doesn’t have to be any conflict.  Think back to the 1920s during the Prohibition: making alcohol illegal is what made Al Capone famous as one of the most notorious gangsters ever known in U.S. history.  And we ended up getting rid of the 18th amendment because it was clearly not working.  Now, the situation surrounding pot is completely different than the Prohibition, I know, but you get my drift.  By legalizing marijuana, fewer people would end up in prison, and gangs and drug dealers would have one item fewer to sell.  Let them keep their heroin and meth; those drugs are clearly much more dangerous and we should continue to fight against them.  But pot?  I don’t think we need to make it so dangerous.

Marijuana should be strictly regulated though.  There should be restrictions on the amount sold, and on the dosage of THC.  There should also be some sort of control over the production of pot-laced candies and food.  One problem that would definitely rise up is driving while high.  There needs to be some way for police officers to determine if someone is driving while under the influence of marijuana.  If we can make sure there are rules and regulations set in place, just like with alcohol and tobacco, then we can certainly prevent a lot of unnecessary injury and death that could be caused by incidents related to the drug.

I know I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to this stuff, but legalizing marijuana does seem to be a bit of a hot topic now, particularly with people of my generation.  Maybe I’m wrong and pot shouldn’t be legal.  But, then again, maybe I do have a point. It is certainly something to think about, especially considering that it’s already legal in other countries.

What do you think?  Should it be legalized? Or should it remain an illicit substance?