I am one of the stupid people who advocate decriminalization of Marijuana, and take note that I did not say 'legalization'. Although, if that were the case and taxes were the same as on cigarettes, it would certainly impact the National Debt debacle. In rebuttal to Mr. Thickskull, one should apply research before opining on any issue this volatile.
1) Gateway Drug is a fictitious term made up to scare the hell out of parents. Many people never try anything stronger, and taking a toke doesn't automatically make you crazy for greater highs. However, if a person does, the deeper implications are the why's of escaping unsatisfactory lives. It has little to do with addiction and more concerned with the psychological damage of trying to cram ourselves into boxes we don't fit or conditions not adequately addressed by the AMA. Not to mention that, when you're young, scaring the hell out of your parents is just a side benefit.
2) WebMD states that in one such study, researchers say about 2.5% of fatal crashes were attributable to marijuana compared with nearly 29% attributable to alcohol. There is no argument that both impair motor skills, but the stoner is more likely to grab the Twinkies and engage in a Star Wars (boxed set) marathon. And since it's been in use since at least the 1920's there have been no significant increases in pot-related, auto accidents.
3) Probably is some lung damage, but since the User isn't smoking 3 Pot Packs a day, comparing it to nicotine is 'apples and oranges'. I was a multiple drug addict in the 60's, using anything that didn't require a needle. And yes, I know how inane it is to be frightened of needles and not hard drugs! Due to an epiphany (much too long to detail here) I quit them all, cold turkey. I have quit smoking at least 27 times over the decades, and still can't give up cigs. If I ever do, I will be in front of the parade to ban that legal substance.
4) Pure myth, with as much veracity and proof as Harry Potter turning us all into Satanists. I would never forget to feed the cat, specially if he has the munchies.
5) Man, I can't think of anything wrong with those activities. 'Dangerously high levels of awareness'? Are you serious? And there's the proof to #1 - escaping whatever reality is!
6) A repeat of #2, and in grave error of making generalities. Cannabis affects different people in different ways. I had the habit of cleaning the entire house in a morning while high. It may appear as slowness, but is in fact focus. Further, not responding to inane questions or answering the phone is not always a bad thing.
7) First, consider the bias of 1923 thinking; second, no long term, definitive studies have been made to support your claims; and third, research is continuing into the benefits in treating (and some preventions)of AIDS, Alzheimer's, Anorexia, Arthritis, autism, cancer, chronic pain, Crohns, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, insomnia, migraines, multiple sclerosis, Nausea, PTSD, seizures, and Tourettes Syndrome. As for those murderous thoughts, in all my years of imbibing, I never once witnessed a reenactment of Reefer Madness, nor heard of a man beating his wife while smoking pot. Can't say the same for legal drunks. Or prescription drugs. Anger is never an issue; we're too busy watching the colors of music.
8) Oddly, I had a couple of very successful careers and graduated with a BFA, summa cum laude, and constantly on the Dean's List while occasionally under the influence. Oh yeah, and of course Bill Clinton didn't inhale!
9) Again apples and oranges. Pot is simply a separate category, and I'm quite sure no advocate would support legalizing heroine or crack. Those really are harmful.
As for your final arguments, there is simply no proof to support your claims, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find even a smattering of the violent crimes attributed to legal alcohol with the same percentages being attached to pot. And while you're on medicinal marijuana, you've obviously never read (or experienced) the 4 page side effect warnings of pharmaceutical pain killers. And the mood enhancers, like Xanax, Prozac, etc.? They're the reason I have a life-long thyroid disease.
There is no downside to the recreational or medicinal marijuana user, aside from the moronic fact that we waste massive police time in persecution and the overcrowding of prisons with this nonsense. Today, 1 in 15 African-American children and 1 in 42 Latino children have a parent in prison, compared to 1 in 111 white children. In some areas, a large majority of black men – 55% in Chicago, for example – are labeled felons for life, and as a result, may be prevented from voting, accessing public housing, student loans and other public assistance, in large part due to racial profiling.
None of us is advocating wholesale drug dealing on playgrounds. We are saying that possession of small, personal amounts should not constitute the onus, punishment, and massive waste of time and money that it now does. We also don't go out shoving a doobie under a youngster's nose any more than we'd coerce your first Jello Shot. It's personal, private, and must be an adult decision.
Oh, and BTW, Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' and 'Wizard of Oz' really DO work in sync!