Poll Position: Should marijuana be legalized?

Today is considered “Weed Day” by marijuana smokers because the date, 4/20, corresponds with the numbers they use to refer to the drug. The actual origins of the term “420″ are not as widely known, but you can count on thousands of college students gathering — in some cases, together, and in very public locations — to celebrate doing something that’s illegal.

For now, anyway.

Should marijuana be legalized?

  • Yes (1,088 Votes)
  • No (40 Votes)
  • I don't know (15 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,143

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There is a growing shift in public opinion about whether marijuana should be legalized, even in the South, with as unlikely a proponent as Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson arguing that particular drug shouldn’t be treated any differently than alcohol. Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico and erstwhile GOP presidential candidate now seeking the Libertarian Party’s 2012 nomination, has called for legalizing and regulating marijuana, citing the ineffectiveness and costliness of enforcing the ban. People in favor of keeping the current law argue that marijuana can be a “gateway drug” that leads users to experiment with harder, more harmful substances. Georgia’s legislators haven’t gone as far as legalizing pot, but this year they did pass an overhaul of the state’s criminal code that calls for people in possession of small amounts of the drug to face alternatives to jail time.

So, a very simple Poll Position question for today: Should marijuana be legalized? Answer in the nearby poll and in the comments thread.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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251 comments Add your comment

1961_Xer

April 20th, 2012
1:28 pm

Kyle, everyone who has ever tried pot or smoked it on a regular basis knows the truth. And the truth is that this has been a HUGE government lie. I have first hand knowledge of dozens of lifetime smokers. They have jobs, and families, and homes, and cars, and pay taxes. Some are engineers, some are salesmen, some are construction workers…. all types of people from all walks of life. Some are athletically very competitive… something I have never seen in cigarette smokers or alcohol abusers. They don’t crash cars, and I would not hesitate to ride with a stoned driver but I would NEVER ride with a drunk driver.

Some folks are always going to have problems with this drug or that. Some folks will have trouble with marijuana. But the vast majority won’t, and know that it is a jack-booted government scam for it to be illegal.

Use of pot while driving is certainly no more mind bending than taking a benedryl or pseudofed.

ragnar danneskjold

April 20th, 2012
1:28 pm

Dear Dusty @ 1:14, fair question: “Are you sure you want to be on I 285 with a crowd of drivers with slow mental and physical reflexes? All of them will not drive on the far right lane. They’ll be right behind you. Watch out! Slowing up ahead!” In a perverse way, that explains the current Atlanta traffic problems. Always wondered why we crept along at 15 mph.

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2012
1:30 pm

Healthy people do not need “something” to push them along

I’m healthy as all get-out, but you’ll pry my coffee mug from my cold, dead fingers, Dusty!

Dusty

April 20th, 2012
1:31 pm

Just the Facts 1:22

“IMPAIRED” means “to weaken or make worse or diminish in value or excellence”.

That is not the kind of drivers we need on the road.

ragnar danneskjold

April 20th, 2012
1:32 pm

Dear Tiberius @ 1:28, good afternoon, I think you accurately catalog the problem(s) with stoners, but I disagree on “causation.” I think there is a personality/mental defect that draws stoners to marijuana. In a prior world we would have dismissed the absence of drive as the character of a “slacker” – same people, somewhat different choice in leisure activities.

1961_Xer

April 20th, 2012
1:32 pm

one last thought: laws that make criminals of ordinary folks breed discontent and disrespect for the law. This is one of those laws.

ragnar danneskjold

April 20th, 2012
1:34 pm

Errata, I did not intentionally exclude the possibility of “genetics” in explaining the attraction marijuana holds for some – I am convinced there is a body chemistry issue that compels tobacco use, and suspect that could also be the case for stoners.

ragnar danneskjold

April 20th, 2012
1:39 pm

Funny headline in Taranto yesterday, on topic: (If you do not know Taranto’s style, his joke/commentary precedes the actual headline)

‘Pot Had Helped, and Booze; Maybe a Little Blow When You Could Afford It’
“On Drugs, Obama Should Lead, Not Follow Old Arguments”–headline, News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.), April 19

Real Athens

April 20th, 2012
1:40 pm

Ragnar:

“the FDA kills more American each year than it has saved in its entire existence”

This is an outright lie. My only question is why you would write something so obviously untrue?

Tim

April 20th, 2012
1:41 pm

We have to stop allowing these Prohibitionists to play the “Kid Card”.

Many of these same people don’t even care if a child has health insurance. But yet when it comes to drugs, all of a sudden they are so concerned about the health and well-being of the children. Please.

But they have no problem when the Corporate Drug Dealers- the Pharmaceutical Companies- sell drugs to kids. They hook kids on Adderall, Ritalin, Antidepressants, etc.– and the prohibitionists say nothing.

And what about these so-called Energy Drinks like Monster. These companies shoudn’t be allowed to call them that. These are really Drug Drinks, with high levels of Caffeine and other drugs unsuitable for children. But do these people obsessed with marijuana ever complain about that? No they don’t. Just spare me with your sanctimonious BS. There is no rational reason to prohibit an organic drug that is non-toxic and has no dangerous side effects when all of the legal drugs are the opposite.

tiredofIT

April 20th, 2012
1:42 pm

“Why do you need “something” to keep you going?” That’s what I wonder about religion?

Real Athens

April 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

Dusty:

It is illegal to drive stoned, just as it is to drive drunk.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

ragnar, agreed to a point. While not being a doctor (although I played on on TV ;) ), my empirical evidence is that pot makes those who are re-disposed to being “slackers” just that more “slack-ish”.

I have yet to meet what some might call a “Type-A, hard-charging” personality who has regularly used pot, however.

Jefferson

April 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

Nixon’s gone and lost his throne…

Common Sense

April 20th, 2012
1:48 pm

When Nixon commissioned a study into the risks of marijuana, he got the report, read it, threw it in the trash, and then launched the war on drugs.

The more government lies about it,and we figure out the lies, the less credibility it has.

Real Athens

April 20th, 2012
1:48 pm

Ragnar;

“a body chemistry issue that compels tobacco use”
Close, it’s called nicotine, one of the most highly addictive chemicals on the planet.

Teri

April 20th, 2012
1:48 pm

First of all how many car accidents have been reported due to being high? Second of all have you ever driven high? I am a Hugh advocate for legalizing weed. I have severe problems with my stomach and my weight and marijuana is the only way I can eat and keep a health weight. If you just educate yourself on this wonder natural plant you would find out that nobody has ever died from smoking weed. More people are dying because it is not legal. Its OK to take a pill that a doctor prescribes to you because you trust your doctor. Well guess what they are in it for the money. That pill they just gave you may help your symptoms for a minute but it is doing long term damage that can’t be reversed and could end up in death, marijuana helps and will never kill you. what is wrong with this country open your eyes!!!

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
1:49 pm

“the FDA kills more American jobs each year than it has saved lives in its entire existence”

For me, this is a much more accurate statement, ragnar.

(Although your original one could be true as well, Real Athens’ poutrage aside)

Real Athens

April 20th, 2012
1:51 pm

“I have yet to meet what some might call a “Type-A, hard-charging” personality who has regularly used pot, however.”

Um, you’re aware of a phenomenon called professional sports?

Joe Mama

April 20th, 2012
1:52 pm

Three Jack — “I’m in my 50s and see many more people my age addicted to pain pills than pot. Legalize it and re-direct some of the wasted money currently funding the drug war to punishment of doctors handing out oxycontin like it’s freakin candy.”

This. ^^^

A meth-head will stick a gun in your ribs to get his fix. A smack addict will put a knife to your throat. An oxycontin freak will go doctor shopping and someone on Special K will break into veterinarians’ offices.

But a hippie who smokes dope will sit on the couch and giggle. You’ve got nothing to fear from that hippie unless you’re a pizza or a Twinkie.

I’m a lot more worried about a meth-head than I am about a hippie with a doob.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
1:54 pm

“I have severe problems with my stomach and my weight and marijuana is the only way I can eat and keep a health weight.”

BS, Teri. You’re just using pot as a crutch to justify it’s use. Try a balanced diet and EXERCISE (and a modicum of self-control) to keep a healthy weight.

Knirpsj

April 20th, 2012
1:57 pm

“Not Blind” , I totally agree. I prefer the message that weve got going right now.

Dont like Mexicans? Dont worry, the drug war will kill them off in droves.

Many leading economists agree that its impossible to end drug consumption with the current illegal model? This is ‘Merica, since when did we listen to experts!? Sure the supply and use of drugs hasnt changed much in the last 40 years but keep beating your face against the prohibition wall and somethings bound to change.

Theres no need to inject any logic or pragmatism to our drug policy. Here in the states we operate on ideological moralism no matter if it ends up costing us more in the end.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
1:57 pm

“Um, you’re aware of a phenomenon called professional sports?”

Um, you’re aware of a phenomenon called “regular use”, Real Athens? Professional sports have drug policies that pretty much weed (pun intended :D ) out the regular users in sports these days.

Real Athens

April 20th, 2012
1:57 pm

Tibby:

“the FDA kills more American jobs each year than it has saved lives in its entire existence”

“Just ’cause you thunk it, don’t make it so”

There are always going to be people who refuse to believe one word the government (municipal, state or otherwise) tells them. They don’t believe the census, they don’t believe the figures in the federal budget, and they regard EPA statistics as state-sponsored propaganda. Fine. You’ll never get these people to change their minds, so save your breath. Let them, Grover Norquist, and Orly Taitz do whatever it is they do.

Real Athens

April 20th, 2012
1:59 pm

Professional sports have drug policies that pretty much weed (pun intended ) out the regular users in sports these days.

LOL. Again, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:00 pm

And Kyle, I’m not surprised at the vote totals at all. If there is one thing most of the conservatives on your blog agree with, it is getting rid of failed government policies that waste money and don’t produce expected results.

TBone

April 20th, 2012
2:00 pm

What it will take is for law enforcement to simply not enforce much like the federal government has done at the border with mexico. If the government is allowed to regulate, tax, etc. they will screw it up. Keep them out of it.

Jimmy62

April 20th, 2012
2:01 pm

Tiberious: I know one. My buddy’s wife is a regular smoker (and devoted mother), who is also a contracts lawyer who makes a ton of money and scares the bejesus out of me with her Type A personality. I would not want to be on the other side of the bargaining table from her, whether or not she’s stoned. I also wouldn’t want to be married to her :)

jconservative

April 20th, 2012
2:01 pm

Kyle, it is 2:00 pm and the vote is 331 for legalization, 13 opposed and a handful of don’t give a hoots.

When will the government catch up with your readers?

MarkV

April 20th, 2012
2:02 pm

Dusty,

This issue was discussed on this blog not so long ago, therefore I am not sure what can be gained by rehashing it. At that time my view was that there should be a careful move towards legalization starting with decriminalization of possession of small amounts, and I have not seen any convincing argument against it. What I wonder, however, seeing your opposition against any such move, is what you suggest should be done. Continue the current policy, which by any measure has been a total failure and, in my view, is doing much more damage than any use of marijuana could do?

Jimmy62

April 20th, 2012
2:02 pm

Real Athens: And that’s just silly. Of all the things I could say about pot, one thing I would never say is that it’s performance enhancing from an athletic standpoint.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:02 pm

“There are always going to be people who refuse to believe one word the government (municipal, state or otherwise) tells them.”

Just as there will always be people like you who never question what government tells you, spending your life being the happy, little myrmidon-like drone that you are, Real Athens.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:05 pm

Jimmy62, while one bad apple won’t spoil the whole bunch, one hard charger doesn’t reverse the evidence that, by and large, regular pot smokers are less driven people than those who do not use.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:08 pm

Now, everybody on this blog who has been calling for ending the war on drugs due to it’s failure to produce results, how about admitting that if you use the same criteria for the Federal intervention in education, THAT should be ended as well.

Let’s see who the intellectually-honest are on this blog . . .

Odis

April 20th, 2012
2:10 pm

Isn’t ALCOHOL the ultimate gateway drug?

Joe Mama

April 20th, 2012
2:10 pm

Tiberius — “BS, Teri. You’re just using pot as a crutch to justify it’s use. Try a balanced diet and EXERCISE (and a modicum of self-control) to keep a healthy weight.”

Fail. You assume that Teri’s problem is in *losing* weight.

Some cancer patients have had significant success in keeping their weight and appetite *up* by means of using marijuana. The same’s been found for a number of other debilitating diseases.

Jefferson

April 20th, 2012
2:11 pm

Sounds like a control issue.

Real Athens

April 20th, 2012
2:11 pm

Tibby:

You have it all wrong, I question everything. Especially the pre-packaged, approved, party messages you espouse.

You just don’t get it? Myrmidon? Why use a seventy five cent word when a dime will do?

Real Athens

April 20th, 2012
2:13 pm

Jimmy:

Nowhere am I suggesting pot is performance enhancing. It’s just not the “end all, kill all” that it’s portrayed as. Marijuana (and other drug) use in professional sports is as widespread as it is in American high schools.

Richard

April 20th, 2012
2:17 pm

Let’s quit the BS and be honest about this. If people smoked pot in church instead of drank wine, pot would be legal and alcohol would be illegal.

There is zero justification for a “free society” having prohibition in any form.

Those of you who say absurdities like this one (from Dusty 12:29): “Go spend your money on something worthwhile, legal and healthy for a change.” Oh yeah, that’s a can of worms you want to be opening. Just let the government decide worthwhile ways for you to spend your money.

tiredofIT

April 20th, 2012
2:20 pm

This is the last thing these guys want: Corrections Corp of America

Jimmy62

April 20th, 2012
2:21 pm

Tiberious: I guess my answer to that is so what?

Unclefast

April 20th, 2012
2:22 pm

If Rotary Club types smoked joints on the links riding in their carts, instead of chugging beer, it would have been legal long ago.

jermwars

April 20th, 2012
2:24 pm

“Marijuana is a gateway drug because of it’s source, and the people involved in its commerce. The guy selling the pot is also the guy selling the meth. If the pot is obtained from a legal source, then the buyer never comes in contact with the guy selling the meth.”

Wow. Brilliant.

He said…pretty sarcastically.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:25 pm

Joe Mama, please head back to the Children’s Table (the Booman blog) where you can troll at will.

If it is a temporary situation regarding keep up weight (such as chemo patient) then I’d agree. But Teri posted no such information.

So take your “fail” and put it where the sun don’t shine.

Josh

April 20th, 2012
2:26 pm

If it were legal, more people would use it. The users and the country as a whole would be worse off. It makes you stupid and lazy – and very difficult to compete economically with the rest of the world.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:27 pm

Jimmy62, I for one don’t care if you want to toke the initiative out of your life. It’s yours to live or ruin.

Just as long as you don’t expect me to prop you up if you can’t find or keep a job good enough to keep you off the government dole.

Aquagirl

April 20th, 2012
2:29 pm

“Go spend your money on something worthwhile, legal and healthy for a change.”

I’m sure Dusty shares this advice with people drinking beer at the Braves’ games. Some of them even have (gasp!) CHILDREN with them! Sitting right next to dad as he ingests his drugs!

But nope, because the government tells Dusty that beer is ok, she doesn’t say a word.

shawn

April 20th, 2012
2:31 pm

I have been smoking for 20 years, job, family,house almost paid for. No arrests, clean record. Should I go to jail and lose my house and job put me and the kids on the streets over a plant?

It’s a good day to remember all of the people that have fallen victim to the human rights crisis known as the “war on drugs”. This year it seems a good day to look forward to the end when people have the right to their own health. Be it taking natural herbal medicine to alter their consciousness or drinking unpasteurized milk to boost their immune system, each individual has the right to decide what goes into their own body not the politicians. “The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!” and like “D” day it is a day that we stand against the eugenics, genocide, bigotry, and other forms of xenophobia that the war on drugs was invented to perpetuate.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:31 pm

“Marijuana (and other drug) use in professional sports is as widespread as it is in American high schools.”

Cite?

“Especially the pre-packaged, approved, party messages you espouse.”

And what party would that be, Real Athens? Given that I do not belong to, nor agree with the agenda of, any organized political party.