Preach it brother Penn!
He’s absolutely right on this. What is the point of imprisoning people for using marijuana? Is it supposed to be for their own good? To protect them from themselves? The most chronic (no pun intended) user of marijuana might not be very productive but that is about the worst you can say about them. The majority of marijuana smokers are productive members of society, that is unless they get busted and imprisoned. Once that happens they’re convicted felons who will be a lot less likely to get a decent job.
“Sorry, we had to ruin your life to keep you from ruining your life.”
As far as health effects, sure if you are a very regular user you might risk long term diseases like those tobacco smokers face but I’ve yet to hear of a marijuana smoker who smoked a fraction of what tobacco smokers do (not counting those who smoke both). How many two pack a day weed smokers are there out there? That would be around 40 joints a day! And it is essentially impossible to overdose on marijuana. If you aren’t operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery, the only way you could kill yourself with weed is to get enough to build a bonfire and jump into the middle of it.
On the other hand with alcohol, which is legal, one need not get into a car to die. Just hop on down down to the local liqueur store, buy yourself, say a 1.5 liter bottle of your favorite hard stuff (I prefer tequila), guzzle it within an hour or so and say hello to alcohol poisoning!
You wanna talk societal effects? How many violent crimes do you think get committed under the influence of alcohol vs. marijuana? I bet they aren’t even in the same galaxy. Yes there is violent crime associated with marijuana on the trafficking end but that is due to the fact that it is illegal (the same was true of alcohol during prohibition).
There is no rational reason why marijuana is illegal while alcohol is legal and the fact that it is, is part of our national insanity.
[Hat tip to Ed Brayton]