At Issue: Changing Marijuana Attitudes and Laws

Call it what you will--cannabis, grass, marijuana, Mary Jane, marijuana, or some other of its own dozen nicknames-marijuana is making headlines nowadays and not simply because its usage by our children is thought to be outpacing their use of alcohol.

Back in 1973, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize its usage, but it wasn't till 1996 that California became the first in the state to permit doctor-recommended medical marijuana usage. Now fast forward to 2012 when Republicans made Washington the first to legalize its recreational usage as of December 6th. People in Colorado voted equally, together with Governor John Hickenlooper signing Amendment 64 in legislation on December 10th.
In these countries, consequently, adults 21 and older are in a position to have an ounce of marijuana, made accessible just in state-licensed shops. Coloradans, however, are also permitted to grow up to six plants. Public consumption, nevertheless, remains prohibited.
Meanwhile, the Rhode Island and Maine are seemingly soon to follow this identical route, while seven states today permit controlled medical marijuana usage. Additionally, the other 17 and D.C. today comprehend its medicinal value but provide no protection against prosecution. You see, marijuana remains illegal under national law-at least for now-causing Governor Hickenlooper to state,"Do not break out the Cheetos or golden fish too fast."
And talking of this authorities, a new Gallop Poll found that 64 percent of the surveyed are against the federal government going to enforce its own anti-marijuana legislation in nations where recreational use is legal-for now only Washington and Colorado. In 2005, roughly 33% preferred legalization; in 1969, only 12% failed.
Meanwhile, that exact same poll found that 60 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds favor legalization, with 48 percent of these 30 to 64 doing this, along with 36 percent of those 65 and older.
The political image is note-worthy, also, with only 33 percent of Republicans favoring legalization, 50 percent of Independents, and 61 percent of Democrats.
Therefore, is this progress or have we started a Pandora's Box, further complicating the job of schools, parents, companies, and law enforcement and additional undermining public security. You pick, keeping the details in your mind.

First off, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that, in 2011, 7.2 percent of 8th graders, 17.6 percent of 10th graders, and 22.6 percent of 12th graders had used marijuana in the last month; furthermore, 6.6 percent of 12th graders used it daily.

And while not always a known"gateway drug" to harder use, scientists have discovered that the sooner you start smoking marijuana, the likelier you are to become hooked on it or other drugs in the future.
Then you will find such sobering statistics:
  • Marijuana smoke includes 50% to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.
  • Pot is the most popular illegal drug.
  • Approximately 100 million Americans have confessed trying it at least once.
  • One of 12- to 17-year olds, 10.1percent of boys and 9.7percent of women smoke bud.
  • Early usage can negatively influence the mind, weakening communication and verbal abilities, decreasing the capacity to understand, and shortening attention span.
  • People 18 and older who first used marijuana before turning 12 were twice as likely to experience severe mental illness as those who began later.
  • Marijuana is addictive.
  • Approximately one in six who begin smoking it as adolescents get hooked up to do between 25% and 50% of daily users.
  • About 30 percent of those arrested for marijuana offenses were below 19.
  • About 14 percent of automobile collision deaths are marijuana-use related.
So yes, while proponents of legalization will last to remind one of this drug war's collapse and its huge cost-about $10 billion on marijuana prohibitions each year and the arrest for over 853,000 each year-take heed and be careful what you wish for, whatever you vote . Once open, there's absolutely no final Pandora's Box.