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The Controversy Over Legalizing Marijuana

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The Controversy Over Legalizing Marijuana

Connecticut has become the latest state to legalize pot for medical use, the New York Times reported. I knew that smoking pot helps those who suffer from cancer, but the article mentioned that it also helps those who suffer from glaucoma, AIDS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy.marijuana leaf.jpg

Another article reminded me that there’s a whole other side to the controversy, that it should be legalized for recreational use, and a holiday to boot. Every year, on April 20, groups of marijuana aficionados have a party. Supporters would like to see everyone be allowed to smoke it, saying that there’s a growing acceptance of the practice (at least in some polls). Colorado and Washington will be voting on this in the fall. (See below.)

Opponents of pot smoking are not too happy about these events, of course, including the federal officials that have stepped up their enforcement efforts. Recently federal drug agents raided Oaksterdam U., a training school for those wanting jobs in the marijuana industry. Very interesting site, but it wasn’t accessible the second time I tried it. Probably not a coincidence after the raid, right?

Obama, too, is linked to marijuana in the news—specifically, what’s going on in Colorado. Here’s a recent Reuters headline: Marijuana could make or break Obama in Colorado. He has said he once smoked marijuana but noted that he could see he was headed nowhere and stopped. “Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed; the final fatal role of the would-be black man,” the NYT quoted him as saying in “Dreams From My Father.”

I didn’t know, until reading the Reuters article, how harsh a stand his administration has taken on medical marijuana dispensaries, “which 17 states and the District of Columbia allow.” But the debate goes beyond medical use in Colorado:

“At issue is whether Obama will get a boost from young voters expected to be among the most enthusiastic backers of a Colorado ballot initiative that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for recreational use – and give the state the most liberal marijuana law in the nation.”

I’m not one for politics, but… talk about another election issue. The article said that a year ago a full 49% of Colorado residents favored legalizing pot. The issue seems more significant that many people may realize.

And, of course, along with the article on Obama was a link to another Reuters article, about a stupid act someone committed after smoking pot. A 19-year-old woman left her 5-month old baby atop her car in a baby car seat and drove away after smoking pot with her boyfriend in a park. Luckily another person found the baby, who was unhurt. I don’t know how; I shudder at the image of what could have happened.

Have other people made a similar mistake while not under the influence? Especially 19-year-olds? I don’t recall any, but it could have happened. Yes, she faces criminal charges. You hope that this is enough of a wakeup call so she’d want to make some life changes. And by the way, she was on her way to buy beer when it happened.

Just yesterday another friend was noting how many people smoke pot. It seems an astronomical number do. Kids do today, surely, but my friend and I both know many people in their 50’s who do, too. I’d like to see a hard-hitting editorial from an expert on what’s wrong with smoking pot. It can never hurt to be reminded.

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