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Legalize it?

I'm surprised that I haven't seen more people blogging about this:

Legislators aim to snuff out penalties for pot use


I do believe that marijuana can have some harmful side effects. So does alcohol. I support legalization with appropriate restrictions: warning labels based on sound, objective research (rather than political bias); not selling to minors; boundaries on where smoking can occur, etc. Despite the drawbacks, I believe that those over 21 can make an autonomous decision about their health and whether or not the benefit of a temporary pleasure outweighs the potential health concerns.

I do this every time I take a sip of wine. Yes, the antioxidant benefits of a glass here and there are muchly-vaunted, but moderation is the key. The old risks of impairment, cirrhosis, and other negatives still exist.

You can try to live life in a glass box. You can exercise, you can treat your body as a temple, and you'll probably prolong your existence, barring getting hit by a bus. You should likely take care of yourself and behave most of the time. But did you ever experience the exhilaration of a roller coaster? Have you ever made love with someone you cared about more than you cared about the breath in your own body? Sex is risky, too.

I'm just saying that a life rich in memory and experience is often the result of taking calculated risks. I'm not saying that marijuana is in any way an essential experience. It isn't. I'm just saying that I think people have the right to take actions that are potentially self-harming as long as they do not directly harm someone else. It's a bad idea to become a drug addict in the same way that it's a bad idea to become an alcoholic -- such behaviors do harm other people. There's a balance to it, though. Most people can have a drink or two from time to time. Many can have a smoke occasionally. Just don't overdo. Be responsible when you indulge.

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