The Country’s Views on Marijuana Legalization Are Evolving. Are Yours?

The Country's Views on Marijuana Legalization Are Evolving. Are Yours? By popular lifestyle blogger, Design Mom

The Country's Views on Marijuana Legalization Are Evolving. Are Yours? By popular lifestyle blogger, Design Mom

A few months ago it was announced that John Boehner, a life-long socially conservative politician, joined the board of a marijuana company. As you can imagine, the responses were varied. Some people saw it as a positive sign of progress, others saw it as a sign that the whole world is going to Hell. But most of the responses I saw were from people who were upset that this rich white man was going to financially benefit from marijuana, while thousands of people of color are sitting in jail on marijuana charges, based on laws that Boehner helped pass and uphold. Which seems to me a valid thing to be upset about.

The whole thing got me thinking about weed and how fast attitudes in the U.S. are changing about it at the current moment. At the end of 2014, I hosted a discussion about marijuana legalization, asking: If it was legal, would you use it? And I explained why I’d never been tempted to try it. Obviously, the comments on the post were fantastic.

But it’s been 3 and a half years, and a lot has changed. In my own state of California, recreational use of marijuana is totally legal now, and there are marijuana shops that look as clean and modern and hip as an Apple store. The stigma around the drug seems to be disappearing. And heck, three years ago, I don’t think Mr. Boehner would have even considered joining the same board.

Since 2014, it also seems like a lot of learning about pot by the general population has happened. For example, I’ve heard and read many helpful conversations about medical marijuana legalization in the past few years, where people discuss that you can get medical benefits from the drug without getting high; that there are unique strains and varieties that can target specific ailments or problems; that it could really aid many people, who unfortunately avoid it because of the stigma; and that it’s possible to get high and still remain high-functioning.

I’m curious to hear if you’ve shifted your own thoughts about marijuana legalization in the last few years, or since we last discussed this. Is it legal where you live? Either medically or recreationally? Would it be fine with you if it was legal? Or do you feel it should remain an illegal drug? Do you, or a close friend/family member, use it regularly and responsibly for fun or for health reasons? Do you know someone who you feel uses it too often or is high all the time? Does it stress you out?

What is your take on people who are in jail on marijuana charges in a place where pot is now legal? Should they be released? Should their records be cleared? Does the State owe them justice of some sort?

What about drug-testing in your workplace? Do they test for marijuana?

If you grew up never wanting to use marijuana, have your thoughts changed? Are you more curious these days? Have you been to a weed store? Do you feel more comfortable thinking about trying an edible version instead of smoking it? Is there someone reading here who thought they would never use it, but now loves it?

As a parent, how do you feel about the idea of your kids using weed? If you got to choose, would you prefer they try marijuana instead of alcohol? Is there an age where you would be fine with it?

I’d love to hear if your thoughts on this topic have changed or evolved. Are you in the same place on this topic as you were in 2014 about marijuana legalization?

41 thoughts on “The Country’s Views on Marijuana Legalization Are Evolving. Are Yours?”

  1. Brittney Schramm

    We lived in Washington State for six years, and while we were living there I voted to legalize it, because I didn’t think it was appropriate for people to be put in jail for something like that. But then it seemed like people were openly smoking it everywhere (openly smoking was not supposed to be legal), there were billboards advertising dispensaries everywhere–including a really obnoxious one which said GOT WEED? in huge letters, and the worst part was having to drive by SIX! dispensaries between my house and my children’s school. I felt that my kids seeing all of the shops and the advertising would make it seem like a legitimate thing to do, when actually I don’t want my kids to think it’s okay. And many people were smoking it when we went to the beaches, even when their children were playing in the water and they were supposed to be watching them. Now I live in Ohio, where it’s likely that there will be a vote to legalize eventually, and I dread seeing all of the shops and open endorsement of it here. I’m disappointed that people don’t follow the rules and try to keep it from getting into the hands of underage kids. It should be only for adults and there should not be any advertising allowed. Just my two cents. Thanks for all of your awesome and informative posts!

    1. Sophie Holmes

      This is a really interesting point, I wonder if the novelty will settle down if legality becomes widespread. That said, I would argue that we see much the same thing with advertising of alcohol, including billboards, television ads, and the general attitude toward drinking in this country encourages excess and often targets kids. There should certainly be more regulation on how cannabis and alcohol are marketed.

  2. I’ve been using CBD oil (legal in all 50 states) for about a month to help with an autoimmune condition and to reduce inflammation and anxiety. It seems to be moderately helpful so far. I did buy it at a dispensary because I wanted to make my first purchase in person and not online so I could ask questions. The experience of buying it in store was very uncomfortable even though it’s a legal product here, (CO) and I don’t think I’d repeat it. I do think it should be decriminalized for medical purposes and to encourage research into the possible benefits for human use especially as we gain knowledge of how the Endocannabinoid system works and why it exists. Do I want my high school kids using it someday to get high while they play video games? Nope. I think there are licit, moral applications (like palliative treatment for advanced terminal illnesses) for the intoxicating component of weed (THC) but disagree that getting high has a morally licit social application. Just like getting intentionally drunk is wrong, so is getting intentionally high. If it’s an aftereffect and not the primary intention, like with a PTSD sufferer or cancer patient, that’s a whole different animal. However, I think decriminalizing it for medical use will allow the development of new strains with low THC and high CDB content that can be hugely beneficial to our pharmaceutical-saturated culture. Are people still going to abuse it? Sure. Because human nature. But I do think there are valid uses for the stuff beyond the bong in the dorm room. (by the way, I did smoke in college and I think anyone who says they can smoke weed and not get high is either lying to themselves or has a really, really ridiculous tolerance built up over chronic – lol – use.)

  3. I’m not sure about how I’d feel about my daughter using it, but I’m sure as she gets older it will be something we discuss. Personally, I never felt a pull to use it even though many friends and my spouse did. However, in my 30s I have started to use it because it is the only way to help alleviate pain from a traumatic pelvic injury. I don’t use it often, but my pain level dramatically decreases when I am able to smoke. I only smoke when my daughter is asleep and my husband is home or when she is staying over grandma’s house. I also have an oil that I use that doesn’t give me any high and just alleviates pain. I believe marijuana use should be legalized nationwide and that anyone serving a sentence or who has it on their record should have it expunged.

  4. I also live in Washington state and agree with Brittney that the signs for legal pot are annoying. These shops are now almost as ubiquitous as latte stands which Seattle is famous for. My husband hadn’t smoked dope since he was in college decades ago but now enjoys having some around for outdoor use. I haven’t been in a shop but he bought me some mints to use as a “chill pill” though I haven’t yet tried them. I won’t deny that I could use a chill pill from time to time. As for those in prison on pot charges, I think their cases should be reviewed for possible release in the states where laws have changed. Sometimes these cases have additional charges related to weapons or money laundering but if the sentence can be reduced for those who are being held solely for possession, I’m all for it. I don’t think the state owes them anything b/c they broke a law when it was in place.

  5. I’m in favor of legalizing even though I probably would not use it myself again–I did a few times in the 1970s & early 80s. (And unlike Bill Clinton, I did inhale:))
    I am 100% onboard with medical marijuana use, & would like to see varieties developed with low THC for those who would benefit from pot but don’t want to get high. I intensely dislike losing control myself, so I can understand that sentiment in others.
    I have no particular feelings either way on those who WANT to get high; people are welcome to do what they want as long as they don’t endanger others. Just don’t smoke and drive.
    From a legal standpoint, I see no reason to let organized crime make all that tax-free money. Legalize and tax! Let’s learn from the failure of Prohibition.
    A separate but related issue is legalizing hemp, which was criminalized years ago under pressure from the forestry industry. We’re missing a lot of good fiber with much less negative environmental impact than logging and cotton-growing. And the THC in hemp is so low you’d have to collapse a lung to get a buzz. There are “feral” hemp plants in my area, escapees from the days when it was grown legally. I take the 5th.

  6. This post is so interesting, because my brother just told our family he got a (great) job at a pot farm in California. He doesn’t even smoke! If he told me this ten years ago, I would have assumed he meant selling drugs on the corner. But he has an office, benefits, and great pay. In California, it is no longer taboo. It is a booming industry, and I think the focus is shifting to the economical benefits rather than the drug use. I now live in Kansas, where it is an illegal drug, and treated like one.

    But, when we went skiing in Colorado last winter, our AirBnB had a “Guide to Cannabis” on the island, next to the gate code and the cleaning instructions.

    It’s interesting how pockets of the country are changing the conversation so quickly.

  7. I have stage 4 colon cancer and being able to get it leagly is a blessing. We live in FL and the card cost $450. Most of the people I see in Chemo can’t afford that. After that the state wants $75 a year and I may need to pay for another perscription that was $250. My husband and I are in our early 70’s and have been smoking for maybe 50+ years. Every old person I know uses it in some form or another. Don’t fell sorry for me I am doing great with chemo and am looking forward to a full recovery. So if you want some and don’t know where to get ask Granny.

  8. I’m an employment lawyer and JUST put together a presentation on this for work! So timely…I have been learning a lot about the different ways people use it – in tincture form, to help with anxiety and insomnia, etc…so many ways that go counter to the stereotypical image of a pothead who can’t get his/her life together or shows up to school/work stoned.

    The political rhetoric surrounding marijuana can be very charged and lacking in nuance (surprise!) but I think it would help to remove marijuana as a Schedule I drug and to devote more federal research dollars into studying it.

    Personally it doesn’t appeal to me and I dislike the smell of it. I certainly wouldn’t want to stay in a hotel where people had been smoking it. I think people should be very thoughtful about how, if they want to smoke, it will affect people around them with respiratory sensitivities, and I certainly think driving under the influence is a very serious offense…but it does seem like there are a lot of ways to consume it now that don’t involve smoke.

    With respect to your question about (many? mostly?) people of color sitting in jail for marijuana offenses, I think those people should at least have their records reviewed to see if they should be released. If possession/sale is their only offense, why should we continue to hold them to standards that we no longer believe are right? That seems unfair.

  9. It does make me really upset that rich white folks are jumping the fence because they can benefit financially. I’m totally fine with it being legal, as long as previous mandatory sentences are reversed/erased, at the VERY least.

    Similarly, we are seeing methadone labs pop up in our “underprivileged” neighborhood (because nobody else wants them in their backyard) to combat the “opioid crisis” while my neighbors (who are people of color, for the most part) languish in prison (and even if they do get out, they’ve got felonies on their permanent record) for crack and marijuana charges from when we were having a “war on drugs” (read: drugs in “bad” neighborhoods, sold/used by POC).

    There are countries dealing with drug abuse in much more effective/healthy ways. But if we are going to change our drug laws, those changes have to come with a retrospective of what our actions to date have done to hinder and destroy whole communities.

    1. 100% agree with this, Jess. Thank you for articulating so well! And thanks Gabby for your thoughtful posts!

  10. I tried smoking pot a couple times in college but never really liked it too much. My husband, on the other hand, has been a regular pot smoker for a long time. He is discreet about it and I do think it helps his mental health – is there a difference between pot and taking a more conventional anti-depressant? Not in my mind, no. I do worry about my kids though and would prefer they not be using pot when they are teenagers and their brains are still developing, especially given some family history of serious mental illness that we have (possibly brought on by using psychedelic drugs like LSD).

    Recently, I endured a severe health crisis from a flare of an autoimmune disease and am continuing to work on my recovery every day. One of the medications I’m on is Prednisone and although I tolerate it well compared to most people, it does make it harder for me to get a good night’s sleep (I’ll be off it completely in a few weeks hopefully). Since sleep is so important to my recovery, I started using a medical marijuana tincture in the evenings at my husband’s suggestion. He bought it in Colorado when he was there a couple months ago. It does have both THC and CBD in it. However, I take about 1/6 of the “recommended dose” and have never felt high from taking it. It makes me drowsy and has really helped me get a full night’s sleep. I tried taking it for a couple days, then stopping for a couple days, and when I stopped, I would wake up at 4am and be unable to go back to sleep. When I take it, I can sleep the whole night or go back to sleep if I wake up. I never thought I would be a medical marijuana user but here I am!

    We do live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, but not recreationally. My autoimmune disease is also one of the conditions legally covered by medical marijuana. I am hoping I won’t have a need for it once I am done with the Prednisone but I would be open to getting my own card if it seemed like it would help. I haven’t talked to my doctor about it yet so I don’t know what his views are. I am one of those people who isn’t interested in feeling high but there are a ton of other options these days, as other commenters have mentioned, including strains that are very low THC.

    I definitely think that people who are in jail only for possession should be released. It makes no sense to me to keep them in jail if the laws have completely reversed and what they did is no longer a crime and lots of people can possess marijuana legally.

  11. I have mixed feelings on this. If given the choice, I would vote to legalize marijuana and outlaw tobacco, but I think there need to be clear laws and strong enforcement about to whom and where it can be sold; how and where it can advertised; and where it can consumed. There should also be strong consequences for those giving/selling it to minors and to those who lace food items with pot without disclosing it to those who consume it. Studies have shown that marijuana use can detrimental to brain development in teens and young adult (our brains are still developing into our 20’s).

    It might seems random that I think there should be strong consequences to those that lace food with pot without disclosing it but it can cause severe consequences for people. My husband is a military attorney and he defended a man who was about to be discharged from the military because he tested positive for marijuana in random drug test. The man had never taken drugs and didn’t even drink. He was clueless how he had marijuana in his system. Finally, his brother-in-law confessed that the day before the drug test, he had laced the pasta salad he brought to the family picnic with pot. He told no one and thought it was fine because no one complained. He then refused to testify on his brother-in-laws behalf because he was afraid he would lose custody of his kids (to whom he also fed the laced pasta). My husband was able to prove it was “accidental ingestion” and the man kept his job but this this is not an uncommon occurrence, especially in states with legalized marijuana. Many are not able to prove accidental ingestion and receive a “less than honorable” discharge from the military.

    1. That is nuts! I can’t believe anyone would put pot in food and then give it to people, especially children, without telling them. I’ve only tried an edible once and I had a horrible reaction to it. I felt like I was going crazy, hallucinating, and was very paranoid for about 12 hours. It was an awful experience.

  12. I’ve never used pot and don’t have any desire to so do for recreation. I do think it should be legal across the country for medicinal purposes. Interestingly in my state a certain percentage of the collected taxes are earmarked for education so the four schools in my community are getting $60,000 next year to support student goals.

  13. Any religious thoughts on this given the LDS church’s stance? Hard to know how this (and vaping, which is perhaps another discussion) fit in with the Word of Wisdom and if they’ll update that at some point. Related article.

  14. I find this topic so interesting. I used to be all for the legalization of marijuana and enjoyed smoking it in college occasionally. I have completely changed my mind after working as a therapist and seeing the effects of regular pot smoking on people’s mental health. Many clients have truly limited their potential and I fear the numbers of such occurrences will go up exponentially when it is even more normalized. Anecdotally, it seems to me that the younger people start the more severe emotional problems they tend to have. I also don’t understand why we have worked so hard as a society to get rid of smoking and now are introducing another dangerous substance.

    1. I echo this comment. This is definitely anecdotal and not scientific, but I know quite a few people, including family members, whose lives have careened off course and who have failed to self-actualize because of their pot and other drug use (which started with pot). This includes one teen who has anxiety and uses it to self-medicate, which leads to even more problems. So I’m even a bit on the fence about medical use. I am for decriminalization but not legalization. I live in DC, where it’s basically semi-legal, and I sometimes have people smoking on the front steps of my house, and the smell wafts into the house. I will be walking my kids to school at 8:30 a.m. and smell it coming from nearby buildings. I’m not really sure who needs to be starting their day high, and I certainly don’t want anyone high behind the wheel of a car. I definitely worry about any mind-altering substance becoming normalized, and that includes alcohol, too.

      1. I agree with this entirely. My younger brother smokes, and I think he does it as a way to escape from uncomfortable feelings and insecurities. He isn’t working or going to school and lives with my parents. They finally convinced him to see a therapist, and she said that she works with a lot of similar cases (mostly boys) and their pot habits (addictions??) are preventing them from moving forward.
        I don’t know the research backing this, but I also think we need to be careful in our country because we have an opiod epidemic, and I do think that marijuana is the gateway drug in most of those cases. I don’t want to look at the issue in fear, but the truth is that I’m afraid.
        I definitely think that the cases of those incarcerated on pot charges should be reviewed.

  15. I live in Denver and am not a big fan of the legalization of pot. I don’t feel super strongly about it (I’ve never written my representatives about it), but I don’t like the dispensaries everywhere, and I do feel like it has brought many more “travelers” who pan handle in our neighborhoods now. I don’t know what else to call this group of usually young people often in groups with backpacks/camping gear/dogs.

    I also don’t endorse the recreational use of any drug (including alcohol) for young people (or really anyone), as I just don’t think it does anyone a whole lot of good. I have 3 young kids so far, and I hope they all stay away from any and all drugs.

    I did smoke pot in my early twenties, and I think it increased my anxiety, depression, and overall mental struggles.

    However, I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of any scientific developments that could significantly help any person struggling with an illness. I also support the decriminalization of marijuana.

  16. I live in Washington and I think there was a rush to legalize without enough education and preparation. I had a conversation just today with a co-worker whose 24 year old son is heading to a treatment center for pot addiction. It has derailed a promising life. My teenagers say they know many kids who use pot. They always knew of a few, but it is so much easier to get now. It’s interesting how smoking cigarettes is not cool, but there is a certain cache to smoking pot. There was a horrible car accident a few weeks ago here that killed two people. The driver who caused the accident (and survived) was high, but we don’t have a legal limit and police don’t have a way to test for it if we did.

    I work with cancer patients and know people who find great relief using it medicinally. I think it should be prescribed wisely as medicine with the same restrictions as other drugs.

    1. I was just thinking about this while reading these comments – is there a legal limit? How would you test for it? Will this mean more people driving while intoxicated, and if so, how is that going to be enforced?

  17. I am a new resident to Colorado (in the process of moving here actually), though I have been a frequent visitor to the state for the last ten years. Governor Hickenlooper, who supported the legalization of marijuana in this state, certainly has had all kinds of caveats since legalization. He has warned other governors of other states to go slowly and understand what they are getting into if their states legalize marijuana.

    Some unintended consequences:

    Legalization was a huge pull for people from other states (especially young people) to come here. As other states legalize, I am sure that effect will decline. But it has been pretty disheartening to have public space overrun with stoners, especially parks in larger cities. The city of Durango just passed a law today to try to deal with this problem – it prohibits sitting or lying on public streets. Denver and Colorado Springs have already passed similar laws for the same reason. These laws are an attempt to deal with people who are not classically homeless, but generally people who have come here to smoke pot and panhandle and sleep or ”camp” in public spaces.

    There has been a substantial increase for driving while under the influence, and an increase in DUI traffic deaths.

    There has been a great increase in child neglect. Social services are stretched to the max here.

    There has been a great increase in students suspended from school for being under the influence.

    Legalization did not decrease the black market for pot, but in fact enhanced it.

    Corruption/organized crime has infiltrated the “legalized” pot growing industry.

    All that being said, I generally support legalization. I think adults have a right to make the choice to use if they want to.

    The reason I am moving to this area is because my husband and I, along with a daughter and SIL, are building and operating assisted living residences in the area. We will work with health care providers to support the use of physician-directed marijuana and cannabis products for our residents, and we have a cannabis nurse available to all residents. Cannabis products have some pretty great benefits for the elderly – offering relief from anxiety and fear, restless leg syndrome, pain, loss of appetite, depression, seizures, etc.

    On a recent flight, I sat by a man about my age, who like me had never smoked pot (or cigarettes even) in his life. But he has decided to try to grow a specific strain of marijuana for the medical industry, after his wife became very ill and cannabis products helped her immensely, but it was very expensive treatment. He told me a little about what growing medical grade marijuana requires, and it’s quite involved, time consuming and expensive. To do it well and grow both the quantity and quality a supplier will buy requires a dedicated greenhouse, a great deal of water, electricity, special lighting, TLC and a general high level of attention to the plants. Harvesting and curing add additional time and money.

    1. Carole, I just want to clarify that Gov. Hickenlooper did not support the legalization of marijuana. He has had no choice but to try to make it work since the voters supported it.

  18. I am so glad this sea change is happening. I am from WA state with family in OR and CA, so all of my home states are now legal. I live overseas now and the country I’m in recently legalized home consumption (although buying and selling are still illegal, so no pot shops…yet). So it feels like the change is everywhere and I’m so supportive of it.

    I’ve been casual pot user for nearly 20 years, so I’ve always been keen on improving access to good product and decriminalizing pot. Another thing that is so nice about the changing industry is the different consumption products – the mints, oils, vapes, edibles, etc. It’s so much nicer to be able to consume in those ways rather than always smoke, which can be harsh and smelly and too strong of a high. Even my mother in her 70s (and a lifelong nonsmoker) is loving a cannabis salve that she rubs on aching joints, she swears by it!

  19. One of the things that has really surprised me is that the legalization of marijuana has really made me re-think alcohol. I’ve always been supportive of legalization of marijuana, because I think “to each his own,” and I think the enforcement is completely out of control. I’ve never thought alcohol should be illegal. I’ve used both lightly (casually?), but don’t really use either anymore…not for any real reason. The legalization of marijuana has made me think hard about the fact that I always thought alcohol was benign, fine, or relatively harmless because it was legal. I have a much clearer idea now that “legal” does not equal “good,” “safe,” or “okay.” I know that sounds naive, but I’m having a hard time putting into words the shift I’ve experienced. In summary, I guess I would say that the legalization of marijuana has made me more wary of other legal things, like alcohol!

    1. Brittney Schramm

      I have thought about the alcohol thing, as well. We just saw an amazing exhibit at the Heinz History Museum in Pittsburgh about Prohibition. Totally fascinating. I didn’t know much about that, but one thing that stood out is just how much alcohol people were consuming before prohibition (so it really was a major problem in society) and how much less alcohol people consumed after prohibition was repealed (maybe social norms were reconfigured). I wish I could remember the exact statistics. But I also somehow thought that because something was “legal” it must be okay. Now I am rethinking that.

  20. I’m in Canada, where we are working out the kinks of legalization/distribution/taxation and learning as we go. It seems pretty ubiquitous, and the legalization is just a formality. I work in Respiratory Therapy and mostly see it used successfully by patients in the palliative setting for pain control, or for appetite stimulation during cancer treatment etc. The respirologists always encourage edibles as the smoke is so damaging to the lungs. We do have several “frequent flyers” in ER who smoke it daily and come in regularly for major gastrointestinal, mental health, respiratory, and wound issues, so I don’t think it’s a good choice for every patient. Hopefully more research will help us determine safer dosages and formulations!

  21. I live in Oregon. Recreational marijuana use is legal. We pass 6 billboards promoting or advertising marijuana use on the way to school which is 5 miles away. I smell it around town constantly. My high school aged kids know of many students who use it regularly.

    Driving under the influence is a major concern/problem in the community. There isn’t a breathalyzer for pot the way there is for alcohol.

    And how is it that we all know that filling your lungs with smoke is lethal and yet all of the sudden smoking marijuana is okay?

    Our discussions at home center around “just because something is legal doesn’t make it moral/smart/safe/right”. You cannot look to the government to determine your morals. Slavery was legal.

    (prescribed and regulated medical uses of certain compounds are potentially a different discussion)

    1. “Driving under the influence is a major concern/problem in the community. There isn’t a breathalyzer for pot the way there is for alcohol.”

      “And how is it that we all know that filling your lungs with smoke is lethal and yet all of the sudden smoking marijuana is okay?”

      “Our discussions at home center around “just because something is legal doesn’t make it moral/smart/safe/right”. You cannot look to the government to determine your morals. Slavery was legal.”

      All excellent statements Robyn, and I’m going to use them, thank you. We are having the same discussions with are elementary and middle school age kids. Their father and I are not smokers (of anything) but we do drink alcohol. Pot isn’t legal in our state, but it is becoming more common to smell it around us. Another thing I’ve told my kids is “Anything can kill you in the wrong amount.” My son, who has food allergies, understands this well.

      I’ve always thought I would rather see it legalized, regulated and taxed instead of criminalized, especially looking back at prohibition and the rise of organized crime. But it seems like folks didn’t do their homework on how to make legalization work. Maybe hoping it would be considered a failed effort? I don’t know.

      This is a really good discussion. Thanks, Gabby.

  22. Damaging to developing brain, addiction, heart and stroke risks, memory loss, respiratory problems, low testerone levels, slowed reaction time, dangerous potencies, unknown additives, paranoia, bad decision making……….the list goes on.

    No to legal recreational marijuana.

  23. I’m a middle-aged Mormon mom of teens who lives near Seattle. I think marijuana can be used for good as medicine, and I certainly would want access to it for myself or my children if a doctor recommended it for, say, epilepsy or cancer. I have friends who have used the CBD-heavy, THC-light variety to alleviate anxiety and/or insomnia, and gave me some to try. Apparently I am a lightweight, because I have never been sicker in my life. It’ll be a good cautionary tale for when I send my kids off to college.

    In addition, I’ve seen the huge change in downtown Seattle since marijuana was legalized. I was just looking at pictures from the first time I moved to the Seattle in 2000 and it was pristine. Now, the downtown area is filled with people getting high on marijuana and more, in public. Whether the change has been caused more by the legalization of marijuana, which attracted people who want to do drugs, or by skyrocketing cost of living, which created more and more homeless, I can’t say. But I do think the legalization of pot has made an impact.

    Takeaway, I don’t think marijuana is morally wrong, but like all drugs, legal or not, it’s incredibly dangerous. I don’t want to see people in jail for smoking pot AND I hate what Seattle has become AND I want all chemo patients to have access to it if it helps them cope.

    Basically I know nothing.

  24. I’m in Canada and our federal gov’t has committed to making it legal by July 1, 2018 but now I think it’s been pushed back, because the focus is on the legislation, which is provincial responsibility. So the fed gov’t says it’s a new law, but each province has to figure out how it works. In Ontario, where we have highly regulated sale of alcohol through a specialized agency (only just got beer for sale in some grocery stores a few years ago), they are now creating a similar agency for sale of pot. So won’t be any corner stores, billboards, etc like some other commenters talked about. I’m glad about that.
    I’ve smoked a few times in my 20s, but the last time got completely paranoid and unwell so have never ever had the desire to try again. But I think my hubby will be glad for the occasional smoke when it is legal.

  25. My husband’s company is a digital health company around cbd and six disease states. It’s the cabbinoid, non THC, and measuring the dosage for cbd for 1. ptsd, opiod addiction, seizure disorder in children, and 3 others I can’t remember. He is most proud that he and his company will change lives and famlies. Google the CNN story on “Weed” with S. Gupta, MD. Love your blog! laura in colorado

  26. I live in WA state. I have always had the philosophy of “okay for you, but not for me” when it comes to substances due to my love of a clear head and my family history. Legalization and the negative impact that this pot culture has had on my immediate family have made me even more conservative about this topic.

    I think drug laws and consequences need to be re-examined, and we need to focus on treatment of users with problems instead of incarceration. However, the freewheeling counterculture-ish “marketing” of marijuana as a cure for all that ails a person is not helpful or completely accurate. Most of the part of marijuana that is beneficial is in CBD and does not need to be delivered by smoking.

    Smoking or taking anything into your lungs is not a good idea.

    It’s easier and more acceptable now for a teen to get marijuana here than alcohol. If you are a teenage girl, lots of people will share with you to loosen your inhibitions. In Seattle (and I’m sure other places) kids caught up in the hype, post pictures of use on their spam accounts and teens get caught up in the FOMO tidal wave.

    Every single bit of research indicates that it’s a bad idea for substance use to start while the brain is still developing. Teens already like to think that they can do what the adults around them do, so recreational legalization and ubiquitous billboards are not helpful.

    Many teens I know use as a way to escape from anxiety, depression, and the often excruciating feeling of being themselves. Here are some things that happen as a result when use gets out of control, which can easily happen when it starts at an early age.

    They stop doing anything without getting high first, including proactive activities that used to be a pure experience for them (doing art, making music, a bonfire at the beach, backpacking, skiing on a powder day, cooking pancakes on a Sunday morning, family gathering with favorite relatives, playing Legos with neighbor kids who worship them, listening to music).

    They stop exercising at all because they smoke enough to strain their lungs.

    Their emotional development becomes stunted or suspended at the age they start using.

    They don’t ever learn to deal with difficult situations and feelings.

    Their academic performance suffers because they are damaging their hippocampus and doing damage to their prefrontal cortex and their executive processing skills.

    Even if they claim to be using to “help them sleep,” they aren’t getting REM sleep that helps in the organization and consolidation of memories.

    Occasionally they talk about their hopes and goals but have a hard/impossible time making them happen.

    They frequently develop a nicotine habit as well because they smoke tobacco and pot together.

    They neglect their oral health.

    The money they earn literally goes up in smoke.

    They lose jobs because they are forgetful or come to work high.

    They cause car accidents.

    They put holes in your walls and are verbally abusive when you throw out their supply and insist that your house rules be observed.

    Because inhibitions are lowered, they try other more harmful substances (I’ve heard all the “not a gateway” arguments, and I disagree. I teach teenagers, so my work week is one big action research lab.)

    When they start to wonder if they have a problem, the hype machine starts spinning, “Marijuana is not harmful. It’s not physically addictive. There are no withdrawal issues.” And so the cultural norms encourage them to keep using, even though it’s very common for heavy users who start young to have significant physical, cognitive, and emotional withdrawal symptoms.

    A few years ago when my own children were heading down this “harmless” rabbit hole, I talked to a few local police officers and I said that based on my work and personal experience, it seemed like legalization in WA had brought age that a person first uses marijuana down by 2 years. These officers completely agreed with me.

    So someone who might have tried it in 7th grade when rec use was illegal is now trying it in 5th grade!

    One of my own kids is just one month sober from a constant habit. Learning meditation seems to have helped him wake up for the moment. I don’t wish my situation on anyone. If you discover your child is using, do everything you can to get them help before they turn 18 and you have less legal influence. Don’t believe them if they say they aren’t using that much, etc. Help yourself via self-care, counseling, and parent support groups.

    Sorry for the long post, but I have done tons of research on this and have a lot of exposure to this topic.

    1. sry but this sounds made up / propaganda-ish.

      “They stop exercising at all because they smoke enough to strain their lungs.” – Come on – so you’re comparing this to cigarette smoking? ‘strain lungs’ implies comparisons to tobacco smokers, it’s completely different. nobody smokes a pack-a-day’s worth of weed. most ppl vape or use edibles as a supplement to actual smoking – the total smoke intake per day is a fraction of a smoker. This is not a real thing, you made this up.

      “They neglect their oral health.” LOL okay so teeth brushing is on your list of issues?!

      “They stop doing anything without getting high first…” Whoa! “They” tried pot and are now all wake & bake potheads?

      Also – youre talking about teens. NOBODY thinks teens should be smoking. or drinking. or using marijuana. Yet teens still do. Paren’t shouldn’t let teens do any of these things. Yet (some) teens still do. It’s not ALL teens or MOST teens, maybe there are some sure but you’re definitely exaggerating here.

      This is copy/paste from some anti-marijuana campaign or something, this is the most ridiculous comment i’ve ever read.

      Weed is amazing and helps millions of ppl. Teens should not use it. Everyone agrees on that last part, you’re completely ignoring the first part.

      1. I’m sorry you feel like this is made up. However, it’s not, it’s 100% factual, 0% copy and paste. Legalization in my state has had the unintended consequence of making weed more attractive, more available and more accessible to teens. It is becoming a pervasive problem in my neck of the woods. I have done extensive research among people in my community and profession.

        It would be helpful if you read all the words that I wrote. I support use of marijuana but I thought it would be helpful for people to see it from the other side of things. In fact the “marijuana apologists” who have tunnel vision regarding this substance have made it hard for my son to believe that he’s entitled to feel the severe withdrawal symptoms he’s feeling right now. Yet anecdotal reports and concerns are from people in his same situation are all over the Internet, and withdrawal is now documented in the DSM-V.

        I took a considerable amount of time to carefully craft a response that addressed the questions Gabrielle asked. And my story is not an anamoly in my area. I did it because I thought it was important for this information to be out there.

  27. It’s legal here (Washington State also) and I find the overwhelming number of signs and storefronts, well, overwhelming. Almost everyone I know does pot in some, or many, ways (I don’t). I have two problems with it. 1) I smell it EVERYWHERE now that it’s legal. I can’t enjoy my patio or yard anymore because neighbors on both sides smoke from sun up to sun down. I have diagnosed non-combat PTSD and unfortunately, one of the triggers is the smell of weed. 2) The main problem I have with it is the same one I have with ANY drug (including alcohol!) If you need/want/use it so frequently that it gets in the way of something/anything that you like/need/want/used to do, then it’s a problem. To me, recreational means occasionally, not several times a week (or day!!)

  28. I live in Colorado. My town does not allow dispensaries and I don’t see advertising. That’s much different from downtown Seattle where I smell it a lot! I was surprised when I moved to Colorado how many adults chose marijuana over alcohol. I don’t think alcohol is better than pot. But I also don’t want my kids using either one as teens which means we have lots of discussions about both substances. I certainly knew plenty of kids in high school who experimented with both and I wish I knew what kept me from doing the same.

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