Many proponents remain unsatisfied. Many opponents continue to fight to preserve the laws in the remaining states, or even reverse the laws that have allowed marijuana to become legal (or nearly legal). At present under federal law, marijuana possession, usage, and sale is still illegal. However, the federal government has allowed provisions for the states to pass or enact their own laws for both medical and recreational use.
So, where do you stand? Are you in favor of legalization and/or decriminalization? Do you think it is acceptable only in the cases of medical need? Or are you opposed to marijuana being readily available in all instances and situations? We spoke to a variety of people, with a variety of opinions, stories, and positions on the subject. Feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions. Remember you can alway comment anonymously. Check back every day for more and be sure to join this important conversation!
"Well, on a personal level, I understand why it's beginning to be legalized in places, and it doesn't seem to be yielding any significant problems yet. But, for as long as remains against the law, it's my job to oppose sales, transportation, production and yeah even usage of it."
WHAT IS YOUR JOB?
"I'm a cop."
SO IT IS QUTE LITERALLY YOUR JOB TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE NOT SMOKING POT?
DO YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON THAT PARTICULAR ASPECT OF YOUR CAREER?
"On keeping people from smoking pot? No. I mean I am not going out looking to arrest people who are smoking pot. Unfortunately, if I happen to come acrosss it, I have to deal with it. If you're growing it, selling it, whatever, I have no choice but to do my job."
YOU SAID YOU UNDERSTAND WHY IT'S BEING LEGALIZED IN PLACES, IF YOU WERE NOT A POLICE OFFICER DO YOU THINK YOU'D STILL HAVE ISSUES WITH IT?
"I know people who smoke pot. And I am sure people that I don't even know about smoke too. Society is not a bubble. I don't think of these people in any certain kind of way because they may smoke. Other than the fact that they're doing something against the law, I don't really think what they are doing is morally wrong or anything."
WHAT ABOUT OTHER OFFICERS, DO YOU SEE A LOT OF RESISTANCE TO LEGALIZING?
"Actually no. I mean yeah there are some guys who will just never come around to it. They're just too old school. But you see a lot of the guys just trying to do their job. You know on the inside they might think 'this is such a waste of time to be busting a bunch of guys sitting in a car smoking a joint.' Even some of the older guys who've been on the job a long time don't think it's a big deal at all. I mean, these guys have seen shit that is so much worse then a bunch of kids getting stoned at a park or whatever."
WOULD ANY OF THEM EVER SPEAK OUT IN FAVOR OF LEGALIZING?
"I have no idea. I mean, it's their job so I'd think probably no. I've seen a few ex cops come out and talk about stuff that they felt was wrong from a legal standpoint, but I don't think that happens to much. You have to respect the law. You have to respect the badge, the uniform, your brothers, you maybe not agree with everything, but you have a job to do, a responsibility. I mean there are all kinds of crazy laws in the world. I think in like Kentucky or Alabama or somewhere down south it is legal to marry your horse (laughter). Do I think that is normal? No. I think it's a lot crazier to marry a horse than it is to smoke some pot, but it's legal, so that's it. If you marry your horse, I'm not gonna arrest you. If you light up a joint in the middle of Taco Bell, I am. I have to."
WHAT ABOUT MEDICAL MARIJUANA?
"That's another story. I mean legally speaking. There are all sorts of regulations that vary by state as far as what you are allowed to do, where you can get it, what the procedure is, what the approved conditions are, it just goes on."
BUT YOU SUPPORT THAT?
"I do. I don't know very many people who are against it. I mean, I know they are out there. But if a doctor says it will help a particular illness or disease and the research supports that, I think it's pretty cruel actually to withhold it. They don't withhold other kinds of drugs. Look at pain medication. They give that out freely and it's perfectly legal and I have arrested a lot more people in the past 2, 3 years for stuff related to abuse, sales, theft and stuff, all of Oxys and Percocets and prescription meds. People will steal from their own mom to get Oxys, they'll sell their wedding ring, they'll pull a gun on someone. Doesn't really happen that way with pot."
"Possession mainly- someone with pot on them. You get intent, I mean people who are selling it, or who are planning to sell it, but nothing crazy. You catch people smoking it. You might be working on a case where someone is dealing it in larger amounts. You're not responding to a pot-created hostage situation. I mean unless someone is holding the last pack of Twinkies hostage (laughter)."
SO IF IT BECOMES LEGAL, YOU'RE OKAY WITH THAT?
"If it becomes legal, I'll do what I have always done. The only thing it changes for me, is who I need to be focusing my attention on."
DO YOU THINK THAT, AS SOME HAVE SAID, LEGALIZING MARIJUANA WILL ACTUALLY HELP THE POLICE?
"I've heard that, of course. I mean the arguments that it will free up some time, some manpower, the resources spent on dealing with marijuana arrests, trials, incarcerations, etc. I'd imagine it's true to a degree. But, that's the case if you take any law off the books that has a significant amount of arrests annually or however they want to group it. I don't spend a lot of time working on cases like that, but I guess. I can see it more on a federal level, people who are in prison for it. I don't know what the statistics are, or how many people are taking up prison space for pot charges, but I have heard the arguments that it would free up prison space and court time."
LASTLY, IF IT'S LEGAL, WILL YOU SMOKE IT?
"No. Not my thing. I didn't even really smoke it when I was a kid and all my friends were. I was, and I am, a beer guy. Give me a beer and I am good. And yeah I know that alcohol is harmful an a lot of people say more so than pot. It may be true. Pot just isn't my choice. I'll take my chances with a few beers. it's not the legal thing. Well it is, but it's not. It'd be that way anyway. The only difference for me, like I said, is who I have to be taking in."