Bil Browning

Should marijuana be legalized?

Filed By Bil Browning | April 05, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: dope smoking, legalize it, marijuana, medical marijuana, pot, weed

A new poll out from Pew shows an amazing amount of support for legalizing marijuana. 73% support medical marijuana (prescription only) while 41% approves of decriminalizing the herb altogether.

I'm curious what Projectors have to say. Take the poll and in the comments, let us know three things: 1) Have you ever smoked pot or do you currently? 2) How old are you? 3) Why do you take your position either for or against legalization?


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Michelle B | April 5, 2010 12:42 PM

1) Never have
2) 17
3) It's safer than tobacco or alcohol, and obviously there would be restrictions on use similar to those that exist for tobacco and alcohol.

1) I'm smoking some hash right now
2) 42
3) Far less harmful than tobacco or alcohol. As an adult I should have the right to be high, or not. My brain, my choice.

1) Nearly every day.
2) 34
3) There are too many reasons to list! A couple:

On HIV medications, pot can significantly decrease nausea while increasing appetite. Also, while I found that alcohol caused significantly more deleterious effects while on HAART, pot had no negative interactions with the drug therapy, at least that I felt.

Also, our societal glorification of alcohol consumption and concomitant demonization of pot makes no sense whatsoever. I've never known a stoned person to get into a physical fight, fall down in the street, vomit in a train car, or otherwise get into trouble while out and about. Alcohol, on the other hand, causes all these problems and more, and yet we feature its manufacturers in our events and pride parades.

1) No; but, I have no problem with it
2) 50
3) The same as with lgbt-related issues, public policy should be decided based on credible evidence, not irrational fear or bias.

1) Nope. I'm quite sensitive to smoke of any kind and while I've considered eating it baked into something, I've never been drawn to any kind of substances.

2) 26

3) Decriminalize. Mostly because there's no credible reason not to and most any reason given applies to alcohol and tobacco even more. But also I have a family member who's been using it to self-medicate bipolar disorder for years, despite not being able to get a medical permit for it. I can't imagine the benefit of putting anyone in jail for using it. And while I've seen ways that it can cause problems, they are minor compared to the problems caused by other legal substances. I believe mandated treatment for any addiction should be based upon the negative impacts or behavior around that addiction, and if people using pot are not committing any other crime or hurting other people, there is no reason for the legal system to intervene.

1) No, actually, though I have trouble getting people to believe this due to the company I have traditionally kept.
2) 21
3) Marijuana prohibition does massive harm. Even though whites and blacks use marijuana at approximately the same rates, blacks are more likely to be arrested, more likely to be charged, and when charged get much stricter sentences. Poor people are also more likely to be arrested and given harsh charges, poor people of color especially. In fact, the origonal justification for the marijuana ban involved racist idealogies that marijuana was an evil plant brought into the US by Mexicans and that it made blacks and mexicans rape white women and that blacks and mexicans were trying to use it to kill white kids. Marijuana possesion felony laws arose concurently with felony disenfranchisement and these laws prevented blacks from voting, in some cases permanently. Marijuana is a far less dangerous substance than many legal substances and the current and past marijuana laws have been used to persecute the poor and people of color.

Elli Pemberton | April 5, 2010 4:05 PM

a) Yes, I've smoked before.
b) I'm sixteen.
c) I'm all for the legalization. Apart from all of my views against anyone having power over another person's choices or lifestyle, I don't see marijuana as harmful. It has a calming effect, it can be for fun, or for creativity. I know wonderful artists who can't create without it.

However, I also believe that nothing should be used in excess, or by anyone who is not responsible enough to act maturely and responsibly.

1)Yep, though only a few times
2)22
3)Here in California I support legalization. Not only because its not a dangerous drug, but because of the criminal activities it necessarily creates as an illegal drug. Regulation is important. I also advocate for taxation, and to put that money toward education (big problem in CA right now).

1. Occasionally
2. Nice try. I am 24 years younger than Mom.
3. My position is Biblical. Its not what you put in your mouth that defiles you but what comes out of it. And of course do not consume intoxicants in excess.

As a final note let me point out that the U.S. prison populations have exploded in recent decades and particularly minority inmates such as blacks. That is both very expensive and very abusive. The war on drugs has been more tragic than Vietnam IMHO.

A. J. Lopp | April 5, 2010 6:42 PM

(1) When offered at parties in college, I would sometimes take a drag. I got high enough to know that music can be a new experience while high. Now I sometimes think I'd enjoy listening to a particular piece of music while stoned, but I haven't smoked in years.

(2) I'm 55.

(3) Should be legalized, because it is more a Western prejudice than a social danger. Moreover, marijuana is another law that is enforced selectively against people of color, adding that much more to our warehouses full of black men who otherwise could be free and productive.

Oddly, to the native Americans and some cultures in the Middle East, marijuana and peyote are considered to be the "respectable" drugs and alcohol is regarded as degenerate. Marijuana probably has some undesirable long term health effects, but it is probably less harmful than long term use of alcohol.

Mike Ireland/ | April 5, 2010 8:29 PM

1. yes, but prefer brownies
2. 63
3. a) I have never seen a mean pothead, only mean drunks!
b) current laws create criminals;
c) it would be a great tax burden solution!!!
d) could put the drug cartels out of business

1. three times: when I was 15 (it sucked), when I was working for CID in the Army circa 1984 (it sucked more), and when I was subjected to it second hand by a girlfriend.

2. 45

3. I'll be a bad girl and say that if I was asked to legalize it across the board, I'd probably vote no in the privacy of my booth.

I will also note I am highly conflicted on it. It has justifiable medical use. I do not oppose the use of it medically -- my position there is along the lines of none of my damn business so I'm getting out of the way of that one.

I have longstanding issues with people who use it very frequently. I don't have a problem with it in general (I did until I was about 30 or so, and then I finally relaxed about it, but much of that was due to the issues relating to what I did in the military). It is strictly a personal problem, and I acknowledge it as such, and it is based on one aspect well studied but generally downplayed because of the right to do what the hell we want to ourselves issue.

It's a philosophical cut point for me. There's no medical reason for it to be restricted, and the social ones are all based in a general bias against drug use in general.

I strongly feel that possession with intent to use should not be criminalized. Period. Having it shouldn't be a crime, using it shouldn't be a crime, growing it for your personal use shouldn't be a crime, etc.

And, with that statement of conflicted thoughts on the matter, I will step away very carefully from the thread, lol

Kathy Padilla | April 6, 2010 9:54 AM


1. I'm drug tested at work and have to pass a background check. Which is a joy for some of us given our histories.
2. Too.
3. Legalize. It's a watse of human and economic resources to enforce these laws. One of my sisters had serious substance abuse problems - drug treatment helped her - jail would have ruined her for life. Prohibition only serves organized crime these days.

1. Yes
2. 24
3. Less harmful than alcohol & cigarettes, many medicinal uses, would help the economy.

1) YES, I have tried. Smoke on and off for yrs. I don't find it addictive personally.
2) 38
3) should be decriminalized it would free up a huge amount of monetary resources and allow us to go after real criminals. It would also be taxable and provide a HUGE source of income for this country that's already in the worst conditions ever in history!!!!