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 the 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!
"I don't think it's a harmful drug. I think there are more benefits to people using it as a recreational drug than people using such things as alcohol or harder drugs. I think there are some people in our society that may benefit from the drug itself. Pot doesn't usually turn people into criminals. I think legalizing for tax purposes would be a better reason, in my opinion, than not legalizing it because they say it's a harmful or bad for society to use, recreationally."
SO YOU'RE PRO LEGALIZATION FOR RECREATIONAL USE?
"It does benefit people medicinally too. People having problems with eating, cancer, depression, trouble sleeping. It's been proven, as I've seen on the news, to help children that have diseases that we never even knew that (pot) would be an approach. These parents that have kids taking lots of prescribed drugs, legally by doctors, that didn't seem to work. I don't know how the parents wound up coming up with the idea to let their kids smoke marijuana, but it's proven to the parents, the kids ultimate protector, that it's helped medicinally."
WHY DO YOU FEEL IT'S SAFE TO LEGALIZE?
"I think it would stop people from going into bad neighborhoods to obtain it. I think it would be monitored so it doesn't get laced with other drugs."
THAT BEING SAID, SOME PEOPLE MAY ARGUE THAT PEOPLE GO INTO BAD NEIGHBORHOODS TO GET HARDER DRUGS TOO. DOES THAT MEAN WE SHOULD LEGALIZE THAT TOO? WHAT WOULD YOUR RESPONSE BE TO THAT?
"I guess the classification of drug that it is. Some are addicting, cause hallucinations, cause you to act in different ways and are a lot more dangerous. They are proven to be more addictive. I'm not saying marijuana is safe, I don't think it's a "safe" drug, but compared to heroin and cocaine and methamphetamines and even pain killers that are so rampant in our world. You don't just sit and smoke joint after joint after joint. When people are doing lines of coke, they're doing it for four and five days straight with no sleep, they don't eat. Their health goes down. Pot isn't a drug that takes your body over. If you let it, become a heavy user, then you could be classified as a "pothead" which is known as a lazy person. Someone that doesn't have any drive or things like that but it's not gonna cause you to steal or lose your family if you smoke weed. It's not gonna cause you to do illegal acts cause it's such an addicting drug (coke, etc.) versus marijuana."
"I guess just the fact that it's a drug. It's like Cardiozem, a heart drug medication. I don't think that's safe. (It's just the first one that came to my head). It monitors people with atrial fibrillation and it's unsafe. I know it sounds contradictory. It's not that I don't know that I'm putting some type of toxin in my body. It's smoke. It's as if I'm driving behind a tractor trailer that has all that carbon dioxide coming out of it's exhaust. It's unhealthy to be taking in the oxygen I'm taking in. I know it's not a "good thing". I've never had any health issues from it. I've never gotten myself into any situation where I was needing it, looking for it, where I had to do things that were not "human like" to get them, compromise my family by doing this drug. But, it's still a drug. It's something entering your body that isn't purely clean. It's still a toxin and from what I've read, a harmful toxin. I just don't have side effects or feel I've acted different, outside of myself, by doing the drug."
WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU SMOKED?
"I was probably between 12 and 14. I'm leaning more towards 12."
WHAT MADE YOU DO IT FOR THE FIRST TIME?
"Probably because I wasn't supposed to be. What are you gonna do when mom tells you "get away from him?" Follow him outside and smoke with him. I was curious. Just being a kid. I remember it like it was yesterday. They were all doing it, my brothers and neighbors; (they) were doing it so it couldn't be that bad. At 12 I don't think I really knew what a drug was."
HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIMENTED WITH DRUGS OTHER THAN POT?
DO YOU THINK YOU WERE COMFORTABLE TRYING THE OTHER DRUGS BECAUSE YOU HAD SMOKED POT AND THAT WAS FINE?
"I never felt comfortable doing the other drugs. I don't really know why I tried the other ones, to tell you the truth. It was definitely addictive, but not hard to stop. But pot definitely didn't lead me into doing the other drugs. I tried those like 12, 13, 14 years after I tried pot, so it wasn't that it was a gateway. That was a different time in my life, many many years later. Probably just offered to me at the right time. I don't know why I wasn't scared. I was at an age that I could afford it. I hung with different people. I needed to work different hours and was in school. Now, they tell you to drink a Monster or a Red Bull (to keep those hours)."
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT POT? WHAT DOES IT DO FOR YOU?
"Relaxes your mind. I sleep better. Sometimes, often, it's a social thing. Many of my friends "participate". You gravitate towards those people, even in a dating world. I don't think people that smoke pot are mean. Most of them are kind people, chilled out people. They don't wanna go out and party and have a raucous kind of time. I don't drink, take medications, any other drugs at all. You know how someone will say they just need a nice cold beer? I enjoy a joint. And if it helps me sleep a little bit and clears my mind, that's extra. Mostly it's social."
AS A PARENT, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOUR KID STARTED SMOKING POT?
"I know he's tried it and didn't like it and that made me happy, that he didn't like it. But if he decided that that was something that he wanted to partake in, I would hope that he would be honest enough to tell me the truth about it all so I would be able to support his idea behind why he was doing it. If it was a decent enough reason, I guess I would try to stick behind him and support him. I would not be happy about it."
IF YOU THINK IT SHOULD BE LEGALIZED, WHY WOULD YOU NOT BE HAPPY ABOUT HIS DECISION TO DO IT?
"It's still a drug. To tell you the truth, it's a lot that people just look down on it. You can go to a bar and leave after spending $400 and nobody will say anything to you the next day. But if you found out someone smoked a joint the night before, you're a pothead, a loser. Because it's been illegal so long, it has a stigma about it. I wouldn't want him to feel disappointed in himself doing that drug, though he's raised in a different world where there's talk about it being legalized. When I heard he tried it, there was nothing I could say. He's seen it in his family. I'm obviously not against it, but I can't say I think the world should do it. I have a mother with cancer, and I don't know if it would help her, but I would like her to try, but I'd never say "do it". Same reasons why I'm on the fence with myself doing it. Physically, health wise it could come back and be harmful to you. Everybody's different and some people see it as a gateway drug and I'd be a little nervous about that with him. Maybe I'd be nervous about the reason he decided to start. If he was trying to fill in a void of another problem he was having. Other than that, I'd like to know that he was, because then I'd know he wasn't hiding it from me. I wouldn't try to stop him. I'd just try to educate him on it."
DOES HE KNOW THAT YOU SMOKE?
"Yes. It was in a horrible fashion and we had a really long talk about it. He told me he knew already, since he was young."
HOW DID HE FEEL ABOUT IT?
"He took it a lot better than I thought. He was raised in a world where it's very normal. He wasn't happy that it was his mom though. But he did say that he wouldn't try to ask me to stop. He asked for it to not be in the house and that it was my decision. I know that he's not happy about it but I don't think he looks at me any differently because of it."
DID YOU HAVE THAT "TALK" WITH HIM ABOUT DRUGS? AND HOW OLD WAS HE?
"Yes. Probably about 15-16. As his parent, I probably talked to him so late because it is such a frowned upon drug and the stigma, the adjectives and definitions that go next to pot aren't good. I never really wanted to have that talk with him probably because I was afraid he'd be ashamed that I was a partaker and I didn't want him to be ashamed of his mother. You know what they're taught and I didn't want him to know it was in the house. That's why I waited so long and it came up at a really bad time. But now he'll talk to me about it and tells me stuff, more than I'd like to know. Not about me, but about what they learned. He knows. He has a brother (different mother) that partakes and he is a bit of a loser and he blames a lot of it on the pot smoking. He tried to compare us both when I was out of work and he stopped real quick. Even though I've paid my mortgage myself for years and years. Pot doesn't make everyone that lazy, non working, strung out, laying on the couch eating, type of person. That's what I thought he was gonna think of me cause that's what he saw in his brother. So when he compared us, I had to make him know that not everybody's like that. I think that's why I tried to hide it. I wanted the chance to redeem who I've been his whole life without him knowing I smoked. A recent talk had happened regarding his brother and the pot smoking because I smelled it in the house. I was very unhappy. He turned to me and said "look who's talking" and I did have to stick up for myself and say "I never did it in front of you." I never put him in that predicament where it was accessible or in view. I'm not an irresponsible drug addict. And I think that's the reason why I don't want him to do it himself. I don't want him to be afraid that that's what people are gonna think of him. Though I'm big on worrying about what people think of me. It's not good.
We were driving yesterday. We came onto the topic about how people judge and worry about what other people think of them. He said to me, pointing to a random car, "Mom, I think you would care if that person thought that you should be wearing those sneakerss." I know I worry about what people think about me a lot, but that's how I was raised, even about weed. People don't give you a proper trial. They look at, let's say, heroin addicts as a lost cause. I've dealt with many addicts and they're not bad people. There just on a different path I guess. I don't know. But marijuana is not a drug where it's going to hypnotize you for days on end thinking there's another world. I think people look at pot users as a lost cause too, expecting they'll now do heroine or something.
Again, I don't think pot is so bad, but I don't like people to know that I smoke it, probably because of the stigma my parents thought about it. They were born in the 30's, my brothers in the 60's, I'm the last kid ('72). It was such a big deal in my house and to this day, I believe that if it wasn't made out to be such a big deal, I might not have smoked it. I don't know. Who knows, I might have gotten bored with it. I still hear about it, at this age, the negative comments. A lot of things we do to ourselves is our own battles in our brains."
WHAT WOULD YOUR ARGUMENT BE TO LEGALIZE IT?
"That it's not a dangerous drug. It doesn't lead people to do things that could cause them to lose their lives. I just don't think it's that class of a drug to be against the law. I think if everyone tried it, they wouldn't be so afraid of it and it would be a kinder world."