I don't use it , . I'm a father of 6 children. But I think it should be legal. Its use has been lauded as a treatment for everything from depression, to cancer. I've watched several documentaries on the subject, and found my opinion of it change over the last 10 or so years. Things to point out-
1) Its called a gateway drug - so is alcohol and cigarettes. Why not make them illegal? The billions of dollars in taxes they generate, plus the 1000's of jobs they produce.
2) Marijuana use related deaths in the US since 1937 - 0
3) Alcohol and deaths related to smoking in USA since 1937 - 22,500,000 (est)
4) The biggest parties interested in keeping marijuana illegal - pharmaceutical companies. Why pay $80 for a pill to treat something, when you can get it from you're back yard?
5) Amount of money spent on the "War On Drugs" since 1967 - $2,000,000,000,000. Are we really winning?
6) Over 50000 arrests in NYC alone ( mostly african americans ) over a provision in the law where if you're in possession of it, it's a fine. But if it's in public view, its a felony and you go to jail. So , if you're stopped in NYC, and have weed in your pocket, out of sight, and the police tell you to empty your pockets - Boom- felony. Millions of taxpayer dollars spent on frivolous charges and burdening an already over-worked court system.
So, I say legalize it. Legal to possess an amount for personal use. Purchase it at a location where a trained and certified proprietor has made sure its safe for you to use. Price it at or below what you were paying for it from the guy down the street (who knows WHAT he put in it). Pay the sales taxes on it. Legal to transport anywhere in the US , in an amount deemed for personal use. Legal to use in the privacy of your own home, or on your own property, out of sight of the general public.
But- Illegal to grow. Illegal to serve to minors. Illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of it. You know; common sense laws.
How many people in the country use it? Who can say for definite. How many good people who like to smoke a little on the weekend (same as sharing a 6-pack) with some friends, lose their jobs because random drug testing just happened to fall on that month? How many-basically good- people are sitting in over-crowded jails right now because of laws that were made in the 20's and 30's, mostly against African-American jazz musicians?
I've seen those festivals they have in Seattle and San Fransisco every so often. Know whats missing? All the fist fights and pushing and shoving, and people just being butt holes.
I'm white, middle-aged, non-user male. Even I can see what good can come from legalizing it. A whole new industry around a resource we've had for centuries and never thought to exploit. A resource that can create jobs, tax revenue, AND fight crime? Where the f*ck are the politicians who want to here my opinion? Oh , right. I need a lobbyist, and about $500,000 in campaign contributions.