Supporters of Initiative 1068, an initiative meant to remove criminal and civil penalties for adults in possession of or growing marijuana, is gaining ground.
For many years proponents of legislation to legalize marijuana have claimed current laws are much like the former prohibition on alcohol.
I have mixed feelings regarding the drug. Yes, I call it a drug because I have seen first-hand its effects on individuals.
Like most, I had several classmates who regularly used marijuana. I never saw the appeal. I witnessed them as they slowly decreased their energy levels and gained a desire to consume every snack food in sight.
The thrill, however, was the fact that they were flipping a proverbial finger at authority by using a substance that was illegal.
The number of those who use marijuana has over the years increased, I believe, or there wouldn't be an increase in marijuana grows. There wouldn't be record-breaking busts when those grows are discovered.
Apparently the label of "pothead" doesn't phase those who believe marijuana's use has no adverse effect on them.
One individual I once knew as an adult was a consummate marijuana user. That individual never had the desire to excel and is still finding himself in low-wage earning jobs. He is what some might refer to as a "loser."
I don't know for a fact that his use of marijuana is the reason he hasn't risen to meet his potential. I only know that he lacks enthusiasm and desire to excel.
When I was around him, this individual was pretty sneaky about his pot use. He would visit homes with rooms darkened to prevent anyone from knowing what was taking place in the room. The cover of darkness was a long-running theme in his life and the lives of those he spent time with when marijuana was the purpose of get-togethers.
Those who support the legalization of the drug believe the cloak will be removed and crime will decline if Initiative 1068 passes.
Experts on the opposing side claim marijuana is a "gateway drug." The evidence I have seen of that is the individual I mentioned earlier admitted to having used cocaine. I never witnessed this, so I cannot speak to the issue further.
I have heard other accounts of individuals who escalated from marijuana use to more addictive drugs.
Those who are pro-marijuana claim those are rare situations and marijuana is no more harmful than caffeine, also considered a drug by some.
Whatever the argument, I believe eventually our government will give in. It may not be in the immediate future, but I foresee them finally surrendering to the will of those who believe consuming marijuana is harmless. The government will tally up the cost of enforcing the current laws, and take into account the effectiveness of those laws. Lawmakers will also consider the taxing opportunities by legalizing marijuana. Realizing the "war on marijuana" is costly and ineffective, they will cave.
Already evidence of that is taking shape. Seven state senators and 18 representatives sponsored legislation to that effect.