Social Question

OpryLeigh's avatar

Why is it so important to some that marijuana be made legal for recreational use?

Asked by OpryLeigh (25280points) October 28th, 2010

I know a lot of people feel very strongly that marijuana be made legal for recreational use and, whilst I admire people for standing up for what they believe in (providing what they believe in doesn’t harm innocent people or animals), I can’t help think “I wish some of my friends would put as much energy into feeding starving children or saving gorillas from extinction as they do in moaning about why they can’t be legal potheads”!

Now, I don’t care either way about whether it is made legal for recreational use. I can understand why people think it should be legal to use recreationally but my question isn’t about whether it should be or not but why it’s so important and why people are so passionate about something that is a want not a need.

Is it really that important and if so, why?

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62 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

It is a fun recreational drug, but going to jail for an extended period of time for smoking it is simply irrational. Especially when there are far worse crime that are being commited that the cops that concentrate on.

I was busted with marijuana at high school and out in town as a teen. The cops simply made us throw it away and told us to go home (although of course I was reprimanded at school). None of us are/were violent criminals, and 6 years later, my friends and I are still doing fine.

JustmeAman's avatar

With me it is not the use of it but the huge expense it takes to keep fighting it and the money that the drug cartels are getting. If we legalize it we have resources to put elsewhere and money to keep in America. If it was legal then farmers could grow it and make a profit from it. Our prisons would reduce their population which is over run now and many other positives. I think Alcohol is worse by far and it is legal. So I think it should be legalized. I am not going to use it at all.

Winters's avatar

They have too much time on their hands and can’t develop a healthy hobby of doing something else so to pass time they sit around and smoke pot for the high. Which, ironically, is the factor that gets them out and doing activities that they could have done without the pot which I think are fun.

…Though if it’ll help me from dying from sheer boredom while being the pack mule for my mom when she shops, that ain’t such a bad idea… jk

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Blackberry I agree that a prison sentence for using pot is irrational but, what I mean is, is it so important that something that is simply “fun” be made legal? “Fun” is a fairly weak arguement in the grand scheme of things.

Blackberry's avatar

@Leanne1986 It’s not about it being fun, although it is. It’s only about the irrationality, with the other legal drugs abound, why discriminate against one I guess is the problem. I would feel the same way if marijuana was legal and cigarettes were not.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Blackberry Again, I agree with your point but I am questioning the level of importance. Whilst this irrational law maybe irritating is it an important issue?
@JustmeAman So far that is the best arguement I have heard for legalising marijuna. This makes it a world issue and not just pothead issue!

youcancallmemoonman's avatar

LEGALIZE IT!!!! There are pro’s and con’s like anything else. I believe you have to decide the lesser of to evils. If cigarettes (which we all know don’t do anything but kill you) and alcohol (definitely a contributer to death and violence) are legal why isn’t weed? There are also quite a bit of financial reasons (explained by justmeAman) why not?

iamthemob's avatar

@Leanne1986 – it is perhaps one of the most important things to put effort into as it is, unlike poverty generally or hunger generally, one of the easiest ways to do good. Consider this, specifically the below:

The cultivation of marijuana in Mexico soared 35% last year to production levels greater than any time in the last 20 years. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, in 2006 more than 60% of the revenue generated by Mexican drug cartels came from cannabis sales in the U.S.

Nixon’s war has been expensive; it has been a failure; and it has caused great damage to the fabric of America society. The harm has been particularly felt by its young people who suffer up to 80% of the marijuana arrests and who are disproportionately African American and Latino.

When you consider how many people are being murdered daily because of the Mexican drug cartels, as well as the fact that one in every three black men will be imprisoned on a felony crime, most related to drugs and not violent aspects of the drug culture, it’s not an irritating law, it’s a DEVASTATING one.

Blackberry's avatar

@Leanne1986 I am not aware of its level of importance ranks on a large list of things that are important. Of course it is less important than healthcare, but there are so many things that are less important than keeping marijuana illegal that people are concentrating on. Everyone is fighting some battle regardless of its level of importance.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@iamthemob Now, if every user of marijuana was passionate about legalising it for the reasons in your answer then maybe I would be a little more sympathetic of their plight. GA.

iamthemob's avatar

@Leanne1986 – be sympathetic despite the users. We’re looking for the reasons why not the reasons why people are really doing it. ;-)

crisw's avatar


I think that many people are passionate about it because people are selfish. I don’t mean this in a bad way- just that people tend to be most passionate about their own self-interests. That leads to a lot of passion about pot- or guns, as another example- while it’s hard to drum up as much passion about things that do not affect people directly.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@crisw Very true. We’re all guilty of it in some form.

rangerr's avatar

So I don’t have to worry about breaking the law every day.

Blondesjon's avatar

Imagine there is something that you really enjoy doing that basically doesn’t hurt anyone. Now imagine that it is illegal to do it.

See simple.

Before you all start screaming about how marijuana does hurt people, save your breath. I don’t fucking care. People get hurt every single day, whether marijuana is involved or not. Calm down, have a legal drink, and go to your Tea Party rally.

CyanoticWasp's avatar


You could live a fine, long life with a collar locked around your neck. So if your government says you have to wear that collar around your neck, and they’ll lock it in place for you, then you’d have no problem with that? After all, freedom isn’t a “need”, right?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

People are selfish creatures. I don’t mean that in a bad way, if they weren’t the species would have died out long ago. However, people care much more about themselves and those immediately around them than those they cannot see or hear.

jerv's avatar

I believe that it has more to do with the hypocrisy inherent in keeping 420 criminalized while alcohol and tobacco remain legal. Alcohol can impair you just as much as pot (if not moreso) while tobacco causes health problems out the wazoo. Now, if all the pot growers got together and gave Uncle Sam a few billion dollars then I am sure that pot would be legalized in a heartbeat.

Just as a reminder, the first drug laws in the US were not intended so much to stop drug use as they were an attack against Chinese immigrants. It had nothing to do with health or morality; it was racism.

KatawaGrey's avatar

It comes down to a sense of entitlement. People who smoke pot think that they should be able to do it whenever, wherever and however they so choose. This is how people felt when prohibition was in effect and how people feel when they want to smoke cigarettes in bars.

jerv's avatar

@KatawaGrey Smoking in bars is different than smoking in restaurants. Some things go together; imagine jelly without peanut butter, or trying to clap with only one hand. Besides, smoking cigarettes in many places is practically prohibited; many leases have “no smoking” clauses so you can’t even smoke in your own home. And I never personally met a pot smoker who complained about not being able to spark up in public anyways.

BTW, is sex an entitlement? There are limits on when and where you can have sex, and most people have no objection to not being able to get dirty whenever and wherever they want (though the however is a sticking point, especially amongst homosexuals who are completely banned from getting it on in some jurisdictions).

Linda_Owl's avatar

It is for the removal of the penalties that have put so many people in prison.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Blondesjon Love your answer.

no homo.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jerv: Maybe this is just an affectation of younger pot smokers but I have yet to meet a pot smoker who will only light up in his/her own home or the home of another pot smoker. Most of the pot smokers I know smoke outside, at other people’s houses, at someone’s place of business etc. I guess what also bothers me is the motivation. Most of the pot smokers I know again, I admit it may just be an affectation of the young just wanna be able to get high. Very few have cogent arguments about the right to put whatever you want in your body as long as you’re not harming anyone else or how the hemp plant can deeply improve the American economy. They just wanna get high and fuck anyone else who doesn’t them to.

Also, do you have a source about the banning of pot because of Chinese immigrants? i don’t disbelieve you, but it just sounds interesting and I’d like to read more.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@KatawaGrey I don’t think that it’s because they are young smokers/stoners, but that they are young and generally inconsiderate – it’d be that way for booze, cigarettes, sex, peeing outside the toilet, etc.

Berserker's avatar

It isn’t important to me as I don’t use it, I just think it’s lame that alcoholism ravages families and tobacco kills more than suicide, and so it pisses me off when the government pretends to ban weed as goodwill for society.
Not saying weed is any better, (Although it most likely is.) or should be legal, I just can’t believe the bs they feed us about it.

Weed being in the same spectrum as harder and more lethal drugs probably greatly helps their ’‘cause’’ though.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@papayalily: Ordinarily I’d agree with you but most of these people are otherwise very considerate and nice. A good example is a friend of mine who is very mature and friendly. He is the best host, always has a nice thing to say, always listens to people, even if they don’t agree, and he’ll light up anywhere he wants. I also go to a number of concerts where I smell a huge amount of weed but the cigarette smokers are corralled outside. I have a feeling it has less to do with the substance and more to do with the illegality.

crisw's avatar


“always listens to people, even if they don’t agree, and he’ll light up anywhere he wants”

What if the people around him don’t want to breathe his smoke- does he listen then?

I am for legalizing marijuana (and taxing the hell out of it)- but only for smoking where no one else has to breathe the smoke.

Aethelwine's avatar

sorry. I didn’t read all the answers above

It is important to me because it is something that helps me sleep and takes away aches and pains. It’s pretty sad that I’m breaking a law for smoking something that relaxes me.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jonsblond: I think that’s the same as me taking percoset after the dentist dug four teeth out of my jaw.

jballzz's avatar

I’ll try to put it in the simplest form I can: You won’t understand until you feel the positive effects of being high. Also the many positive uses hemp and cannabis can have on society, and all the lies you hear about marijuana being insanely harmful and a highly dangerous drug, which it’s not.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jballzz: I’ve been high. It was the second worst experience of my life after having my foot torn off in a car accident.

Berserker's avatar

Being high is either awesome as fuck or horrible as hell. Depends on which side of the force you ally yourself with lol. Triple that with LSD, as it’s way easier to turn yourself around on weed than it is on harder shit.

jballzz's avatar

@KatawaGrey Which is why I said POSITIVE effects. While getting high it was probably your first time. You were probably nervous about how you were going to act when you were high. Because you were nervous, while your high your brain starts to mess with you. Your nervousness completely ruins the high and starts turning it into a bad experience. You probably start to get paranoid, wondering if you’ll get caught or if people will notice, and that adds to the nervousness. Because your both paranoid and nervous while high for the first time, your brain sees things differently and you have a bad experience. And you can try and say you weren’t nervous when you were doing it, but I think a lot of people have been nervous their first time getting high, but when they’re high they start to feel the positive effects, unlike you who stayed nervous and had a bad time.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jballzz: I don’t think that was it. I was with a large number of people getting high including my boyfriend and very good friend of mine. I puked and someone had to tell me that I was puking because I didn’t notice and then spent the rest of the night unable to feel, see, or hear anything properly because all I could sense was my blood rushing through my body and my heart beating really fast. I wasn’t nervous at all, I was just wishing with all my might that it would stop. For several days after, I woke up with the same feeling for about 15 minutes to an hour. It’s great that you have positive experiences, but people have positive experiences when they do a lot of stuff. It doesn’t mean everyone should do it or that it should be legal.

I happen to think pot should be legalized because hemp is a useful plant that can be used for just about anything and because it could be regulated and taxed. i don’t think it should be legalized just because some people think it feels good.

Aethelwine's avatar

@KatawaGrey You’ve got to admit that alcohol, cigarettes and prescription pills do more harm than someone sitting on their couch smoking a joint, yet the others are legal and marijuana isn’t. Just doesn’t make sense.

And any pot smoker that I have ever known is considerate and smokes in the privacy of their own home. They never just light up in someone else’s home without asking for permission. They just want the right to enjoy something on their own time, in their own home. Maybe it is a generational thing.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@KatawaGrey You had your foot torn off in a car accident???

YARNLADY's avatar

The current law has been misused to put huge proportion of young black men in jail for the same offense that young white men get off scott free.

Kraigmo's avatar

1. Ending of suffering and ending of pointlessly destroyed lives
When the federal government busts someone, it at best interrupts their life to a harsh degree; and at worst, it destroys their life. Marijuana being a relatively harmless and widely used and sold substance, the federal government has no moral or ethical authority to intrude upon and destroy so many well-meaning, harmless lives and livelihoods. Same goes for state governments (but at least state governments have the Constitutional right to ban drugs, which the feds do NOT according to the 9th and 10th Amendments).
Children have been taken away from their parents over this issue, literally destroying more lives.

2. Re-allocation of police resources to solve the 24 month rape evidence kit backlog
There is a national epidemic of rape evidence kit backlogs. The backlog in Los Angeles County is 2 years. The backlog is 1 year in hundreds of cities and counties across the U.S. This means when a man rapes a woman…. in many cases it won’t even be investigated till a year later, or even longer. Meanwhile, the federal D.E.A. along with States who participate in the Campaign Against Marijuana Plantations spend Billions of Dollars in tracking down marijuana growers. Then when you add up the costs of incarceration, the courts, the bailiff, the judge, the police, the assistant D.A….. all that money adds up, and we are spending it on marijuana sellers and users, when there are rapists who aren’t even being investigated. Surely, that’s an insulting and evil allocation of resources that could instantly be solved by legalizing marijuana.

deni's avatar

Because it is a harmless and exceptionally fun thing that is illegal for no good reason and that one can get into serious trouble for using for, again, no reason. And it makes no sense at all, and it’s easy to be irritated by how much trouble and inconvenience one has to go to to obtain and enjoy something so simple, not to mention the risk of being caught! It’s just really stupid.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@KatawaGrey wait a minute… are you saying that because you had a bad experience with the stuff that it should be illegal? Is that the root of your opinion here?

Guess I’d better stock up on peanuts, in that case…

OpryLeigh's avatar

@jonsblond I am all for legalising it for medical reasons if it is true that there are medical benefits to it. If it helps you sleep then maybe this is more of a medical benefit than recreational use. Wanting it legalised for genuine health reasons is a far better arguement than wanting it legalised because it’s fun to use and “freedom”.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Really, @Leanne1986? So why are alcohol and tobacco legal, then?

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t know @CyanoticWasp. I do know that if tobacco and/or alcohol where illegal I would have the same question to all those wanting to legalise it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

And that is, that you know what is best for them, and they should take your word for it, @Leanne1986?

OpryLeigh's avatar

I’m missing your point or maybe you are missing mine @CyanoticWasp. What did I say that makes you think that I know what is best for people?

iamthemob's avatar

I don’t think it’s relevant, but all that @Leanne1986 said was that it’s better to want to legalize it for medical reasons than simply because it’s fun. That’s perfectly reasonable. There are plenty of fun prescription drugs that shouldn’t be sold in an unregulated fashion but only with a prescription that are regulated for the same reason. @Leanne1986 didn’t say whether it shouldn’t be legalized all-around, just that the reasoning for an all-around legalization is less supportable.

I think that we all can agree that alcohol, tobacco, and (I think to a lesser extent) marijuana aren’t really good for you, and the first two are pretty bad. For all of them, it’s difficult to joyfully get behind the argument “people should be able to fuck themselves up because that’s what freedom is.” It’s more of an unfortunately necessary argument that’s a part of “that’s what freedom is,” much the same as “people should be able to say what they want up until the point that it starts to immediately harm other people.”

KatawaGrey's avatar

@CyanoticWasp: You are not stupid enough to think that was actually what i was saying. I was pointing out that just because some people have good experiences doesn’t mean it should be legalized. I agree that it should be legalized but not just because it feels good to some people.

Basically, what @iamthemob just said.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

How stupid I may or may not be is up for debate, but (fortunately or not) not in this thread.

My position may be extreme or radical, but that’s only because I believe in “extreme personal liberty—and accountability”. I think everything should be free, wide open and available to all competent adults. And proving “competency” shouldn’t be a big hurdle.

It doesn’t mean that I’m going to take any more mind-altering drugs at all (or even lifesaving ones without good guidance), but if someone else wants to and is willing to face the consequences of error or bad judgment, then that’s their right. Their most fundamental right, as a matter of fact, after deciding whether or not to take their next breath.

What I say is, “Consequences be damned, whether the stuff is ‘good for some’, ‘fun for some’, ‘helpful for some’ or not, legalize everything—and accept the consequences and occasional liabilty.” Making things “illegal” doesn’t make them unavailable, it only assures that the people dealing in those things as buyers and sellers are de jure criminals. I think that it’s stupid for a society that pretends that it believes in “liberty” to pretend that they really do believe in it if they think otherwise.

I don’t believe in “liberty only to the extent of my comfort zone” or “liberty if utility can be demonstrated” or “liberty but only to the extent that ‘good’ effects outweigh ‘bad’ ones”. I just believe in liberty, period.

Aethelwine's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I don’t think it is extreme or radical at all. Sounds fair to me. Great answer.

iamthemob's avatar

@CyanoticWasp – liberty, period could be cool…as long as it doesn’t mean you have the liberty to punch someone in the face without going to jail. (essentially…your liberty ends at the nose of the other). ;-)

OpryLeigh's avatar

@iamthemob Thank you, you articulated that better than I did, hence the misunderstanding. @CyanoticWasp I completely agree with your opinion and, even though I don’t use it myself, I see no reason why it shouldn’t be legalised. I just want to hear stronger arguements for legalising.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Leanne1986 I don’t think there are any stronger arguments. I think that it’s long past time “to ask permission” and demonstrate that “it’s not too harmful”; it is time to demand what is intended by our Declaration of Independence and Constitution: Liberty. What could be a better reason for legalizing drugs? or anything else that won’t cause direct harm to others No one ever thought that the USA would or could be the best and freest country on Earth “because it has the safest and smartest laws”; that’s nonsense. We pretend to offer freedom; we really ought to do that instead of pretending.

Politicians are not parents to us, of whom we have to ask permission, “May I do this?” Nominally they are employees and ‘servants’, but they certainly don’t act that way, do they?

OpryLeigh's avatar

@CyanoticWasp OK, I disagree with you that there are no stronger arguements, @iamthemob‘s original answer to this question was far stronger than “it’s fun” and that was the type of answer I was looking for. I understand (and agree to a certain extent) that it maybe shouldn’t need a stronger arguement but that doesn’t mean that stronger arguements don’t exist.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Leanne1986 I never said that “it’s fun” is a good argument. I have been trying to say over and over again that “I want it, and it’s not going to hurt anyone else” is the only argument needed. Fun and harm reduction and taxes and ‘other uses’ and medicinal ‘good’ are arguments at the margin. Those are the arguments that you use with your parents when trying to ask permission or convince them. We’re not asking permission and we’re not talking to our parents here.

Another way of saying what I’m trying to say, though less polite, is, “It’s no one else’s goddamn business.”

OpryLeigh's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Are you deliberately trying to pick a fight with me? I agree that a stronger arguement shouldn’t necessarilly be needed but I asked this question because I want to know if someone does have something stronger than “it’s fun” (or “I want it” or “it’s no one elses business”- they’re all the same to me just dressed slightly differently) hence why I, once again, refer back to @iamthemob‘s original answer. Now, maybe you believe that “it’s no one elses business” is the strongest arguement. Fine. We obviously have different opinions about what a strong arguement is. That is also fine. Shall we agree to disagree?

iamthemob's avatar

@Leanne1986 – I think that @CyanoticWasp does have a really strong argument – but it’s more about our relationship to the government more than marijuana recreation in particular.

@CyanoticWasp‘s point is more about the fact that it is, and I am totally with this argument, totally offensive that the government tells us what we can’t do in this fashion. For me, it’s better expressed in the idea that it’s offensive to our liberty that there are “morals laws” – laws that, essentially, tell you that it’s bad to do something by making it illegal, when it’s really your decision. It’s the same as other drug laws, prostitution laws, porn regulation (aside from child porn, of course), etc. Laws and regulations about where, when, at what age you can do potentially damaging things have a different reasoning – think along the lines of driver’s licenses.

I do think it’s a particularly strong argument…it’s just more general.

PS – I really think the two of you should just let your dogs have at it, and the winner should be judged thusly. I’ll throw mine into the mix he thinks he’s a bad ass

OpryLeigh's avatar

@iamthemob I agree with @CyanoticWasp‘s point I have said that at least twice and I agree with you both that in this sense we should be able to make our own decisions seeing as it probably isn’t going to harm anyone. I, like many others, believe that using prison space and tax payers money is a riduculous thing to do for something as petty as marijuana use.

Let me put it another way, if you were making an arguement directly to the powers that be, what would be more effective arguement (and sound less like a whiny, hard done by teenager) than “I want it and I’m offended that you won’t let me have it”?

Paradox's avatar

Well because unlike some of the other issues you’ve mentioned such as hunger the problem with the mediocre drug war can be quickly eliminated in an instant by just one swift change in the laws against it by just legalising it.

Unfortunately in my career field I will be randonly drug tested regardless so any legalisation or decriminalisation laws do me no good any way.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Paradox If it was legalized the company you work for would have to specifically say that it’s not ok for you to partake in that drug. Sometimes they test for prescription drugs as well, like Vicodin and Xanax, but if you have a prescription then you’re ok.

mattbrowne's avatar


Tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive drug and potentially dangerous, but so are alcohol and diazepam.

asmonet's avatar

Me and @rangerr should go break the law sometime.

rangerr's avatar

@asmonet Fuckin’ a, dude. You live 5 MINUTES AWAY. 5. Just 5. And we have yet to meet up. WHAT. IS. THIS. I think breaking the law would be the best way to hang out.

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