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

victor

April 20th, 2012
2:41 pm

im 26, i smoke pot, ive never been on welfare or gotten so much as a parking ticket in my life. im a college grad and business owner. my friends parents are pot smokers in the same way some have a glass of wine or brandy after dinner (not every day) and they are doctors, surgeons, police officers, teachers, construction workers. ive lived in the texas and drinking is encouraged (even sold next to the checkout at the gas station!) but weed… oh thats “the devil”. what a joke.. cant wait for the oldest generation to die off that way we can start looking at this in a more rational way. tax it, regulate it and make it legal. although… the groups spending the most fighting against it are the prison and police unions cause their “gravy train” of billions of federal dollars would vanish. thats why the head of the DEA in face of facts and science still pretty much says the reason its not legal is “because we said so”.

carlosgvv

April 20th, 2012
2:42 pm

Marijunna smoke containes some of the same cancer causing compounds as tobacco. Legalizing pot would add millions of new smokers to the population. Eventually, some of them would develop lung cancer and other lung diseases and would be a huge burden on Medicare and Medicade. Since so many of you cons here would like to see Medicare and Medicade eleminated, I suggest you not jump on the legalization bandwagon.

Real Athens

April 20th, 2012
2:45 pm

Having known professional athletes across the spectrum: Football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis and NASCAR — I can attest that drug use is widespread and common while being swept under the rug by the corporations that control them. If the public knew how rampant it was that would ’cause a decrease in revenues. Can’t have that.

There are any number of sports books, biographies, autobiographies, etc. that support my statement.

Joe Mama

April 20th, 2012
2:46 pm

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

You’re welcome, T. Always glad to point out the conclusions you’ve leapt to.

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

And you didn’t bother to *ask,* did you?

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

If you think that someone would actually smoke pot in an attempt to *lose* weight, then that just puts failsauce on the fail. :D

Again, you’re welcome.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:46 pm

victor, maybe a bit less pot use would allow you to learn what a capital letter is, what apostrophes are and what a paragraph does in helping to make a written argument. ;)

Just saying! :D

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:48 pm

“There are any number of sports books, biographies, autobiographies, etc. that support my statement.”

And apparently nothing online which can.

Why use your opinion when I asked for facts, Real Athens?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
2:52 pm

“Marijunna smoke containes some of the same cancer causing compounds as tobacco. Legalizing pot would add millions of new smokers to the population.”

carlos, during the last discussion on this, someone posted a link to a study which showed no measurable increases in lung cancers in pot smokers over non-smokers. I suspect it is due to the relatively frequency of use, that being 20-40 cigarettes per day for tobacco users due to the nicotine content in them, vs.the one or two a day for pot users.

I just don’t think your contention carries any water.

Now, weight gain due to excessive munchies . . . . ;)

ragnar danneskjold

April 20th, 2012
2:54 pm

Dear Real Athens @ 1:40, good afternoon, you need to get out more. @ 1:48. you are half right. Ever thought about “why?”

Dear Tiberius @ 1:48, I concede you may be right on all points here.

KOGORO

April 20th, 2012
2:55 pm

anyone who uses the word “heck” five times in a comment, “you know you shouldn’t listen to.

From personal experience

April 20th, 2012
2:58 pm

How many people you know die of chirrosis of the liver from smoking too much pot. True story, I have 5 uncles, and 3 are still alive and doing well financially and regularly smoke pot. The other two were alcoholics and died of chirossis of the liver and the other an alcohol related stroke from long term abuse. The two that died from the alcohol related diseases died at relatively young ages. The other three “stoners” are in their late 50’s and about to retire. Hmmm and pot is illegal and alcohol isn’t because……

[...] Follow this link: Poll Position: Should marijuana be legalized? – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Dusty

April 20th, 2012
3:11 pm

Well, marijuana smokers have more excuses for their weakness than a dog has fleas.

Let’s see besides” everybody is doing it”. There’s “my health problems, my genetic structure, my aversion to law, the government messed it up, doctors are prescribing other drugs, children take other drugs, impaired drivers don’t hurt anybody, allergy remedies bad, drug companies bad, FDA bad, coffee has caffeine sooo, there’s wine at church, aint hurtin’ nobody, drug dealers not selling anything bad, I’m independent soooo, ever’body I know ..all wonderful but high, professional sport athletes are on something,, everybody is happy & harmless (like a butterfly), 90% Amercians use marijuana.”

Now that last one may be right.

The country is in deep debt, banks closing, mortgages failing, umemployment high, patriotism low and a majority of citizens are HIGH.

Well, there you go, weaklings. Americans high or situations make Americans high? I’ve given you another excuse for your lack of self control. Got any other new excuses?

@BNelson0403

April 20th, 2012
3:13 pm

@Tiberius – Your lightning rod of hate!

College sports and marijuana

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/7819621/ncf-oregon-ducks-deny-drug-culture-eugene-espn-magazine

Have expectations for parents fallen so low that they are no longer expected to provide any kind of guidance on how to become a productive member of society? Why must we rely on the government to “nerf” the world in order for us to feel safe? Are you saying that you lack the ability to make informed decisions without some kind of “higher power” removing the ability to choose? It’s not my right to tell anyone else how to live their life. Why is it so hard for prohibitionists to imagine a way of life other than their own

Jimmy62

April 20th, 2012
3:15 pm

Ahh, carlosgv, always on the anti-freedom side of every issue. I’m so surprised.

Show Low Here We Come

April 20th, 2012
3:16 pm

dusty – ever hear the one about “judge not, and ye shall not be judged”? just sayin’… maybe someone can slip her a brownie…

BlahBlahBlah

April 20th, 2012
3:18 pm

As of 3:18pm it’s 474 yes, 18 no. And this is on a conservative blogger’s page. The time has come. Legalize it.

Jimmy62

April 20th, 2012
3:19 pm

Dusty: You’ve yet to present a single valid argument against legalization. We’re still waiting.

This is yet another area where liberals are such hypocrites (not about Dusty, I have no idea what his politics are, though from what he’s said about pot, it’s likely he’s liberal)… They say they are all about freedom and tolerance, but the reality is they think they know better than you, and will use the government to force you to live how they want you to live. They are one of the most intolerant groups on Earth.

JustTheFacts

April 20th, 2012
3:19 pm

Educate yourself instead of spewing propaganda.

<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4506595&page=1"
<a href="http://scienceblog.com/18538/thc-cuts-lung-cancer-growth-spread/"
<a href="http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/01/11/marijuana-doesnt-appear-to-harm-lung-function-study-finds/"
<a href="http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/173610/government-study-smoking-weed-even-a-lot-doesnt-damage-lungs/

I find it humorous (and sad) how many mental lightweights who have probably never even seen marijuana will repeat the “impaired drivers, gateway drug, bad for your health, blah, blah, blah” BS over and over. If you want to really educate yourself as to the real reason marijuana is illegal, do some research on Dupont’s invention of nylon in 1935 and Harry Anslinger’s (Commissioner of FBN, precursor to the DEA) and Anslinger’s tie-in with Dupont.

BlahBlahBlah

April 20th, 2012
3:20 pm

victor nailed it. The prison-industrial complex would hate to see weed legal. There goes their jobs.

AmVet

April 20th, 2012
3:20 pm

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

It’s called a lack of intellectual honesty driven by nothing but willfully stupid, mad as a March hare ideology, Real Athens…

JustTheFacts

April 20th, 2012
3:21 pm

Oh well, my closing anchor tags didn’t go through but you can copy and paste the links.

David

April 20th, 2012
3:21 pm

It is like the great philospher George Clinton says, “There’s more profit in pretending that we’re stopping it than in selling it”, which really applies to all illegal drugs. while I have a problem with the harder drugs like heroin and cocaine, marijuana, which I feel is much less dangerous than alcohol should be legalized; if for no other reason than to relieve the overcrowding in our jails. Let’s just lock up the real criminals. Another effect would be a decrease in crime because even if heavily taxed, legal drugs would be lot less expensive to produce.

kevin

April 20th, 2012
3:25 pm

Dusty, please tell me you are for re-prohibiting alcohol. That way, I will admit that your beliefs are consistent with an objective, scientific analysis of drug policy. I would like to be able to agree with you on something!

Dusty

April 20th, 2012
3:32 pm

MarkV

You asked a question about my thoughts on marijuana legalization.

As for anything harmful, I prefer that people not use it legally or illegally.

For young people of high school age, perhaps misdemeanors for a limited number of times. For adults, I am not sure about the law now but I would suggest high financial fines and short jail sentences.

Hitting the pockertbook seems to make more impression than incarceration. It might make some people on “high” realize that the world is not one big marshmellow of serendipity in which to coast.. It is a place of promise to which we can contribute with whatever talents we have. .

Mash

April 20th, 2012
3:33 pm

I’m stunned that 95% of the respondents have voted Yes. I guess this poll is proof that we really are living in an uneducated, dumbed-down society.

@BNelson0403

April 20th, 2012
3:40 pm

@Mash

Please provide evidence that marijuana makes you stupid. The only thing your last statement contained was opinion (wildly misguided opinions at that).

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
3:40 pm

Not surprised at all that the libs on here haven’t taken me up on the Federal education intervention question.

@BNelson0403

April 20th, 2012
3:41 pm

I hate how the Feds are interfering with public education. Some kids should be left behind, not everyone is destined to be college bound. What happened to our trade schools and apprentiship/journemen programs?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

April 20th, 2012
3:42 pm

“I guess this poll is proof that we really are living in an uneducated, dumbed-down society.’

Or maybe we’re just a whole lot smarter than you, Mash.

At least most of us posted reasoned arguments why it should or should not be, while you, sadly, did not.

@BNelson0403

April 20th, 2012
3:49 pm

@Dusty,

Are you religous in any way? No dissrespect or offense intended just curious.

MrLiberty

April 20th, 2012
3:51 pm

You either own your own body or you don’t. Which is it going to be? Does the government own your body? Then that is slavery – plain and simple.

Every drug should be legalized, but cannabis most of all. God, the creator, whatever you will, put this wonderful plant on this planet to be used as with all others. Hemp – the cannabis plant, can be used for food, fuel, paper, clothing, a type of plastic, etc. The list of items is unbelievable. The plant was made illegal because of collusion between government and big business (is anyone actually surprised?). For the most complete historical coverage of this process, check out “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” by Jack Herer.

Legalization does not mean that all personal responsibility goes out the window. Any crime committed under the influence is still a crime, just like under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs. Legalization is already working in Portugal where all drugs were legalized some years ago.

Every problem we have with drugs is because of prohibition. Irresponsible people will be irresponsible regardless and drugs do not necessarily make things worse. The black market in drugs fuels the crime problem, the profits, and the acceptance of illegal behavior that is associated with those involved.

Again, you either own your own body or the government does. Which is it you so-called small government conservatives or pro civil liberties liberals???

Dusty

April 20th, 2012
3:55 pm

Show low,

Best not to judge individuals. My posts involve the principles of drug use and its impairments. If the shoe fits, wear it but I do not know you and or anybody else here. R U feeling guilty about something?
—————–

Jimmy2

IF you read my posts, you would know that I have presented arguments against the use of marijuana. You do have to read them to know what I post. Try again.
———————————

Kevin,

I do think that some form of prohibition would be helpful. Beverages containing more than a small percentage of alcohol drain the health and finances of many Americans.

As much as I like freedom of choice in major decisions fo;r Americans, I find it hard to approve of any substance that poisons the life of Americans. It can be a little bit or a lot but it seldom has long term good results.

Alcohol & marijuana, both do nothing more than bring a temporary lift while undermining the human body. I do not think that is good.

tacc2

April 20th, 2012
4:00 pm

Legalize and treat cannabis just like we do alcohol. There really is no reason not to. All the people who want to use cannabis already do. It’s not like more people are going to start using (as long as we forbid advertising) it if it is legal. Prohibition does not deter use. It simply increases the price of the prohibited substance. It also causes the people involved in the trade to have no legal recourse when wronged, leaving them with no way to resolve their conflicts aside from violence. i.e. “Dude just stole all our weed! Can’t tell the police, they’ll arrest us. Let’s just go shoot dude and get our weed back!”

weatherwatcher

April 20th, 2012
4:06 pm

Mash, I would say we are living in an enlightened society. There are still some hypocrites, but more are enlightened, than say even a decade ago. People thinking it should be legal are not necessarily users. They just see the hypocrisy and know Reefer Madness was a scare tactic. Some of the smartest, most creative, kindest people I know smoke occasionally..no, it does not take over one’s life. I daresay there are people that you love who smoke, but they probably would never let you know it. I have some friends who drink and smoke occasionally. Given the choice, I prefer when they are smoking. The conversation is more interesting..new ideas abound and no one gets sloppy. When alcohol is the drug of choice, there are usually arguments, people spit when they talk, they repeat themselves, and then you don’t want folks driving. From my limited experience, there has not been the tendency to “overdo” on weed like people do on alcohol. That is an improvement. Alcohol is a much more “dangerous” drug than marijuana and you can buy it by the truckload..and people do. Again, I am not an advocate for either, but alcohol is a lot worse and it is legal.

Dusty

April 20th, 2012
4:06 pm

Dear BNelson0403

You asked, “Are you religious in any way?”

If you mean, do I have faith and attend church, the answer is “Yes.”

And you?

GT

April 20th, 2012
4:17 pm

Truth is you cannot regulate it, so it doesn’t matter how you vote on the subject, the reality is it is here to stay. So many of the Republican planks are undoable, this is one of many. There are people spending real time in prison over something that ultimately becomes legal. Lock em up, kill em, lets go to war, that is about all this group has to offer.

I love it when you point out they ran Newt. “He was never a serious candidate anyway”. I guess that is why he carried the state of Georgia. Deliverance is more than a movie down here; it is a political party.

Gustavo

April 20th, 2012
4:18 pm

The message we need to send to our young is a message of truth and knowledge. We need to start first by being better parents and holding ourselves accountable for your mistakes and our children, not a PLANT for crying out loud. Oh no poor kids they’re gonna know what weed is…Are you f’ing kidding me?? Like if they don’t know already. Kids nowadays get weed easier than booze, why because it is uncontrolled and in the hands of drug dealers that really don’t give a F about your kids. We need to educate our young, make this legal and tax the HELL out of it.

carlosgvv

April 20th, 2012
4:21 pm

@BNelson0403

April 20th, 2012
4:22 pm

@Dusty,

I was raised non-denominational Christian. As an adult I have as you might say “lost my way”. I also keep in mind that my religious choice is in fact a choice. I will not let that choice effect the way I treat others nor should it in any way give me the power to decide how others shall live their life. There is a difference between spreading the word of God and forcing the word of God.

Gustavo

April 20th, 2012
4:28 pm

Something else for you think about; the bread and butter of your regular drug dealer is Marijuana. That’s their daily income, that’s their hook to make the big bucks with the harder drugs. So if we eliminate Marijuana from the street dealer he will no longer be able to compete with other prices (legal store prices) and therefore a great majority of them will stop just because it’s not going to make fiscal sense to just deal crack or cocaine. Also the kids that were exposed to those harder drugs before now they will not be because if anything they will try to get it from the super market or the store which will obviously not have cocaine or any other hard drug so we eliminate the situation for a stepping stone if you will to harder drugs. It’s really simple and logical I really don’t understand why people still choose not to see this.

MarkV

April 20th, 2012
4:28 pm

Dusty @3:32 pm

Dusty,

You still support criminalization of marijuana possession. I think it is unwise, and what’s more, I wonder where are all your noble ideas about individual freedom?

I believe we should criminalize behavior harmful to others, and only regulate things like possession. Just like with alcohol, regulate who can buy marijuana, and punish when the behavior endangers others. Certainly punish drivers, who drive under influence in a way that is dangerous. But give me reason to punish someone who smokes a joint in his home while watching TV.

Just to be clear, I agree with you when you question the need to use any such drugs, but I do not think it is up to me to make that judgment for others.

Logical Dude

April 20th, 2012
4:30 pm

Dusty: Well, there you go, weaklings. Americans high or situations make Americans high?

Do you also think that alcohol should be illegal?

Dusty

April 20th, 2012
4:33 pm

GT. 4:17

You are so dramatic. Nobody here has said,”lock ‘em up. kill ‘em and go to war”. Another figment of your wild imagination.

As to the movie “Deliverance”, it was nothing but a trumped up melodrama of misinformation distilled in Hollywood and presented in all its ignominy as representative of the South.. It was trash. I’m not surprised you mentioned it.

azazel

April 20th, 2012
4:39 pm

you can grow more than pine trees in SGA. grow it sell it tax it

Jimmy62

April 20th, 2012
4:39 pm

Dusty: I have read your arguments, none of them make any sense nor are they based on true facts. Basically you state over and over again that marijuana is harmful without any evidence to back that assertion up, while person after person says what you are saying simply isn’t true based both on scientific studies and personal experience.

Jimmy62

April 20th, 2012
4:41 pm

Mash: Your posts are certainly evident that you are dumb.

How much evidence do you guys need to believe what most high schoolers have figured out. Pot is far less damaging than alcohol, and when you try to say otherwise, all you do is show you are either ignorant or lying.

Gustavo

April 20th, 2012
4:42 pm

That’s what a bigot does Jimmy. Blindly points fingers and irresponsibly spreads unfounded arguments.

Logical Dude

April 20th, 2012
4:42 pm

Dusty, sorry, missed your recent responses :)

Jimmy62

April 20th, 2012
4:49 pm

Carlosgv: The only thing that list tells me is that overuse can be bad. You can say that about pretty much anything. In fact, if you drank a lot of water you would die, but no one has found any evidence of death from smoking too much weed. If you eat too much pizza you could die from a number of resultant problems, but that doesn’t mean we should make water or pizza illegal.

And most importantly, nothing on that list shows that my smoking pot in any way affects you. Unless I drive, which I’m sure would be just as illegal as driving while drunk.

carlosgvv

April 20th, 2012
4:57 pm

Jimmy62

You are one of the responsible ones who will not drink or get stoned and then drive. Unfortunately, there are too many who are not so responsible who, if pot was legalized, wouldn’t hestitate to get hight and drive. At that point, they could adversely affect both you and I. Do you see my concern?