Marijuana legalization in the United States is very quickly becoming a reality. According to the latest Gallup Poll conducted this month, a record 58% of Americans publically support marijuana legalization, with only 39% opposing it. As it stands, 18 states have already decriminalized marijuana, making it legal with a prescription and only a fineable offense to possess small amounts of the drug without a prescription. However some state legislators are lobbying to not only decriminalize marijuana and use it for medical purposes, but to make it recreationally available.
The future of recreational marijuana
Colorado and Washington State have already passed legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana, with Oregon planning to vote in early 2014. In the next four to six years many other states are rumored to have tentative plans to follow suit, including Maine, Rhode Island, Nevada, Massachusetts and Vermont. Since the federal government remains silent about its stand on the topic, states are able to come up with the marijuana regulations for personal use, sale and distribution as they see fit. While alcohol sales and distribution regulations in the United States vary from state to state as well, every state complies with federal guidelines listed under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. The lack of a similar system for marijuana use is likely to create a giant gap in policies across states and will be an issue for the federal government by the time they are forced to get involved.
Setting specific guidelines for marijuana sale and use
Colorado is the first state venturing into recreational sales and distribution guidelines for marijuana and recently published a 68-page guide. Recreational consumers are required to show a government-issued photo ID to prove they are at least 21-years-old and will be limited to purchasing up to one ounce of marijuana. Other marijuana regulations include details for safe product testing and extensive labeling of products for consumers. These labels will very clearly state how to properly use the product as well as the health risks associated with use. There will not be, however, a label to warn that consumption of the product could result in addiction.
Dangers of marijuana use
Recreational marijuana advocates always have stats and anecdotes on hand whenever someone opposes marijuana like “alcohol kills 40,000 Americans a year and marijuana has never killed anyone”, yet they tend to overlook the real dangers of the drug. According to data compiled by drugabuse.gov, almost 10%of marijuana users become addicted to the substance. That number increases to 17 % when individuals begin using marijuana as adolescents. This is a problem that will continue to be exacerbated by advocates of recreational marijuana, including “pot moms”, who smoke marijuana around their children and make it acceptable to follow in their footsteps at a young age.
When arguments are made to legalize pot for recreational use, it is important to remember that there are many potential repercussions. Using any drug for recreational can be a way for a person to escape a reality they don’t want to face. There are many other healthy outlets to explore instead of using drugs or alcohol to cope with the stresses of life. If you know someone who is struggling with addiction please call our 24-hour helpline at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: drug abuse, marijuana, marijuana addiction, marijuana decriminalization, marijuana legalization, marijuana parents, Marijuana Possession, pot, pot moms, pot smoking, The Watershed