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Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Makes Sense (and I Hate Pot)

As of January 1, 2014, any person over age 21 can legally buy marijuana in Colorado from a licensed dispensary. It’s just like buying liquor at a liquor store. Looking at what Colorado is doing, I’m starting to think that this may be the right move for all states.

Marijuana by warrantedarrest from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Marijuana by warrantedarrest from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

From my observations, the medical marijuana system is corrupt. I believe that marijuana has positive benefits for certain patients; however when a state legalizes medicinal marijuana it seems like everyone who wants a marijuana card figures out which doctor to visit and what magic words they need to say to get a card. Then they use it as an excuse to be legally wasted all the time and possibly illegally share their legally obtained pot with others.

If we legalize pot, it will be distributed through legal channels and regulated to ensure that it’s safe. And the government can tax the shit out of it like they do cigarettes and with any luck that money will go to some good use. Hopefully this will reduce the demand for pot on the street and all the crime that goes along with the drug dealing will decrease. There will always be a black market for pot, just like there are still guys who illegally make moonshine; but I hope more people would choose to buy it from a licensed store if they choose to partake.

And let me make one thing clear – I am not a proponent for the use of marijuana in general. I hate the way it smells. I hate the way people act when they’re wasted. I chose not to be around most people when they’re drunk or high. If I ever live somewhere where marijuana is legal, I won’t allow it in my home. Yes, I am the anti-pothead who is saying it’s better to legalize it for all adults than to legalize medicinal marijuana.

Marijuana Joint by Torben Bjorn Hansen from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Marijuana Joint by Torben Bjorn Hansen from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Don’t tell me that marijuana should be illegal because it’s bad for you. There are a lot of things that are bad for us that are perfectly legal – like smoking cigarettes, drinking excessively, and being overweight. If we made everything that’s unhealthy illegal, we’d all be in jail.

Here is my concern for states that are considering legalizing marijuana – you have to figure out how this will work with the DUI laws. Driving while impaired by any amount of any substance is illegal in Arizona. I hope there are drug tests that are sensitive enough to tell when a person is likely currently impaired by pot. The drug test for marijuana for employment can show if you’ve used it in the last 30 days. I don’t want people getting DUIs when they haven’t used in a week but today they’re just a bad driver. Colorado’s law set a limit for how much THC you can have in your blood. If you go over that limit, the presumption is that you’re too impaired to drive.

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona but some people are pushing for an amendment to the state constitution that would make using marijuana legal for adults and regulate its distribution.

What do you think – should marijuana be legalized? If so, what are your concerns? If you’ve been to Colorado and you’ve legally purchased pot, I’d love it if you’d share your experience in the comments below too.

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