I stopped smoking marijuana in February of 2013 and also quit drinking at that time as well. In the past I had problems with alcohol even though it is decriminalized. In my recent past however, I did not drink as heavily as I did in before, but still it created problems in my life. Marijuana is a different story, because it is not legal to use in the State of Florida, not even medically. Where I live in Avon Park, FL, if they catch you with as little as a nickel bag of weed they will suspend your drivers license. So it is my position that even controlled recreational use of marijuana is actually a problem here in State of Florida, because of the law. Therefore for legal and health reasons as well as economical reasons I quit smoking.
I am for (support) the fight to legalize or decriminalize marijuana not just for medical use as they are attempting to do now in the State of Florida, but also for recreational use. I think the drug is much safer than alcohol based on comparison use experience and its legalization I think would reduce alcohol consumption, because like me, many people simply do not use marijuana because it is illegal and has too many bad consequences if you get caught with it or have it in your system.
Marijuana stays in your system for over 30 to 60 days, so if you are an employee for a company or the government which monitors drug use, you have a problem with using marijuana. But still many people use it and take the risk of losing their jobs behind their so-called recreational use. And many people are locked out of the workforce due to marijuana use and know this and still use. This brings into question is the use of marijuana really recreational for the many users of it?
I believe that marijuana is in fact psychologically addictive. I went to rehabilitation to stop smoking, as it became an everyday event for me. Sometimes I smoked and could not hold it into my lungs, because my lungs were too tired from all of my smoking. Yet I continued to at least try to smoke, while wasting my money and coughing it up. When I started smoking in my last stint, it was to help me sleep at first, which is really does help me do. And then, I found that I really work harder and was my enthusiastic in my recording studio under the influence of marijuana. I really helps my creativity, so I started smoking to make music productions. But it also make me feel good, so I smoked simply to feel better and like I said it became an everyday event for me and sometimes an all day event. So was this actually recreational use or functionality use?
Still I believe marijuana should be decriminalized if only because it makes economic sense for our nation as a whole. Too many people are doing it anyway for the Justice Department to enforce prohibition. Too many young lives have already been ruined and too many people are in prison and jail or have criminal records for marijuana related offenses. Our government cannot sustain the costs of prohibition verse taxation. And as things stand marijuana addiction is taboo.
I am a veteran and went to a VA Medical Center for rehabilitation and though marijuana is said to be a schedule one drug (the worst drug) and many opiates and cocaine are considered a lesser schedule or schedule two drug, I was not treated as so. While opiate users were asked to stay 4 additional months, they released me without my requesting it a week early or after only three weeks and said I was doing good and should go home. Why? Because marijuana addiction isn’t taken seriously. But it is destroying more lives than any other drug on the market, not just because of the laws on the books that are being enforced, but because of the peoples willingness to use it in spite of the law. Whereby people think it is harmless it really isn’t. Because it is against the law and stays in your system for over 30 to 60 days making it easy to be found in your system even weeks after using it. And knowing this people still tend to use it regardless. These fact makes it dangerous not as a health issue directly, but as a self preservation issue. It directly effects people livelihood and freedom.
I think the idea that marijuana is safer than alcohol is true. I think for one reason alcohol abuse often leads to violent crimes, while marijuana often does not. But the idea that it is not addictive is a fallacy. People negligently use it in spite of it negative consequences, only because they actually have a problem or addiction to marijuana. Many people smoke marijuana knowing they will never get a job as a result of it and then use trickery to passed the urine test, when they decide to go look for a job, because they cannot quit. Is that really recreational use, when you deny yourself a living for you recreational activities? Most certainly not! I believe in “work hard and play hard,” but if you cannot work often you cannot eat, unless you get food stamps. And on food stamps to support your marijuana habit you have to commit crimes and often women sell their body which is a crime. Therefore marijuana use often develops into criminal behavior.
So my position of decriminalizing marijuana is not based on its safe use factors alone. But the legalization of it, would create funding to help those who do have a problem with it, because they would be paying into a system of regulatory controls which should include rehabilitation programs subsidies. Though legalizing it will create more use of it, it would also decrease alcohol consumption, which is a good tradeoff. This I think would actually reduce crime. But it would also end the taboo concerning its addictive nature as far as treatment is concerned. It would decrease the prison population and it would increase our labor pools. Because many people are disqualified from working simply because of their marijuana use, yet their addiction or problem is better than the alcohol user counterpart who has a job or can at least look for one. And if they can work, they will not need to commit crimes to smoke their weed.
In summary, I quit smoking because it was not good for me. And I must assume that other people can make the same distinction if they realize they have a problem with its use. Not all people have addictive personalities and will become addicted to marijuana as I did. But the functionality of a marijuana addict I think is higher than an alcoholic. For one they are not as inherently violent in nature, yet many will mix the two, which isn’t a good idea. Which would be an indicator of an alcohol problem in my humble opinion.
It is just a matter of time before prohibition ends on federal the level and now the debate should no longer be on legal verse illegal, but should shift to how to implement the law once prohibition ends, in order that it is properly regulated by properly using the tax subsidies to enforce the law among the people, preventing monopolies in its distribution and sales and providing treatment for those who fall between the holes and become addicted due to its easy access as well as those who are already addicted, whose addiction will no longer be taboo.
Frank Paul Jones