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Pot — Where Will We Be in the Future?

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Pot — Where Will We Be in the Future?

Thoughts on the long-term affects of marijuana legalization


I’m wondering where our country will be in 20 or 30 years – not regarding the legalization of marijuana, but the effects of legalization. Currently, slightly over 50 percent of Americans are in favor.  Will that have changed drastically? What will people be concluding about what has transpired?

You almost can’t say that it depends on politics, for a group of Democratic governors have come out against legalization, as notjoints and pot.jpged here. Who’d expect that? Perhaps less surprising, Chris Christie, embattled Republican governor of NJ, has said voters will have to elect a different governor to even have medical marijuana legalized in his state. It remains to be seen who that will be, and what his or her leanings are (For more on Democratic attitudes, see this Chicago Tribune article). Similarly, The Washington Post has reported on Democratic views, but also found that age holds the key to legalization in California, where the youthful vote outweighs seniors in favoring legalization.

Pros and Cons

I was thinking about our country’s future after reading pro and con op-eds in a local paper. A retired police officer wrote the one promoting legalization, and a co-founder, with Patrick Kennedy, of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), the anti-legalization one. Each made good points, adding fact and opinion to articles already presented by others. The pro headline was “Prohibition Leads to Host of Problems”; the anti headline, “Societal Costs Not Worth the Revenue.”

A writer I follow who has a column in a paper called Baltimore Fishbowl surprised me recently when she wrote about her horrific experience with the new pot (my term, not hers). Marion, who is also a college professor, was several years behind me at my high school, so I never knew her. She’s been very open about her pot use over the years—even that she has smoked with her sons. But in this column she insisted she’s done with smoking because of the horrible experience she had. She believes is that today’s pot is 50,000 times stronger than it was and says:

I will not be among the chuffed boomers dropping vac-packs of skunk into their Prius glove compartments, I’m sorry to say. I so wish I could enjoy marijuana — it’s clearly the most wholesome of the mind-altering substances, a superior vice in almost every way. Indeed, back in high school in the seventies I could not make it through fourth period without dipping out to the parking lot for a toke. But then I took a long break from my friend Mr. THC, first for spiritual endeavors, later, for poor choices involving hard drugs, finally for pregnancy and motherhood.

Hard to believe, but she only had two bites of a marijuana cookie before she experienced such extreme paranoia and confusion that she swore off pot forever. It took her three days to feel normal again, she reported.

By the way, here’s an online map that shows the states that have legalized pot, those with both medical and decriminalization laws, those with legal medical pot, and those with just decriminalization laws. It was current as of April; would love it if this site (or another) updates it so we can see how the changes progress over time.

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