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    Posted December 26, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Does marijuana help you?

    40 years in the making

    I never thought I would live to see the day when marijuana was legal on the retail market. I am a boomer and grew up in the post-Woodstock post-Haight Ashbury generation. I started using marijuana recreationally at the age of 16. It was an enjoyable, social activity, but the paranoia of being 'busted' was ever present.

    The social marijuana days lasted through my early 20s, where responsibilities for school, then a family allowed me very little time for getting high. I didn't really miss it much.

    From my 30s until the present, I have been an occasional user, always in a controlled setting, e.g. at home, no responsibilities to attend to.

    Having said this, I have had mixed feelings about the legalization of any mind-altering drugs:
    1. Although I was primarily a recreational user, I was around many people who were high from the moment they awoke until the moment they went to sleep at night. I will admit I did not see any serious adverse effects outside of laziness, overeating and short term memory loss, but I can't imagine spending my entire life under the influence.
    2. I firmly believe alcohol is a much worse drug than marijuana, from the known physical adverse effects to the tendency for aggressiveness that is not seen in people who use cannabis. There is no good reason to keep alcohol legal and marijuana illegal.
    3. A substance abuser /addict can not use ANY drugs and must lead a sober life. I have pondered on this a lot as I have a son that has struggled with substance abuse for years. For these people, will having marijuana be easily accessible help or exasperate the problem? I am not sure. But I do not advocate keeping marijuana illegal to theoretically protect potential substance abusers. In my own experience, my son went from marijuana use to 'synthetic' cannibis, 'legally' available at a smoke shop. While he was fully functional under the influence of marijuana, using this synthetic drug led him to paranoia, delusions, hallucinations and 2 major psychotic breaks. He had none of these symptoms before using this 'cheaper and more readily accessible' 'legal' drug.
    4. The the majority of people will not become drug addicts, and will probably follow the typical pattern of alcohol use: a lot in the adolescent and young adult years, tapering off to recreational as life brings on responsibilities.
    5. Major societal bonus of having cannibis legal:
    a. tax revenue
    b. elimination of SOME of the activities of organized crime
    c. Separation of the sources to obtain marijuana from other, more harmful drugs such as meth, crack cocaine.

    But I have not yet answered the question: Would I buy? You bet I would! When would I use it? After a very stressful hard day of work, when I am relaxing at home. Even if legal, I won't be driving under the influence, and would need to be in controlled situations outside of the home. Those are my limits: I am 62 years old; not the seemingly immortal kid I was at age 18. Legalizing marijuana is not going to lead most responsible adults towards an irresponsible lifestyle.

    I am looking forward to my next visit to Colorado!

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