It’s an issue that is currently being debated in California. To me, it’s hilarious that we’re still discussing this at all. Of course it should be legal. It’s ridiculous that there’s even a debate about it. Anyone over the age of 18 ought to be allowed walk into a store and buy as much as they can afford in any state in the U.S.
Now, let me clarify that I happen to think using marijuana, or any drug, is stupid. But so is drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco. So, the only intellectually honest way to oppose legalizing marijuana is to also support the criminalization of alcohol and tobacco. (Though, as we should have learned, that’s unenforceable.) Otherwise, it’s just senseless support of whatever the random laws happen to be at present. If someone wants to poison himself by putting such substances in his body, how can we stop him?
Now, you might say that there are negative effects to third-parties as a result of people using marijuana. (What economists call “negative externalities”.) Yes, that’s true. But, again, that also is the case with alcohol and tobacco. Those are regulated substances. We as a society seem to have decided that we are willing to accept a certain number of deaths of innocent bystanders from drunk driving in exchange for being able to drink alcohol legally.
Some complain that marijuana is a “gateway drug” that will lead people to try harder drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Yeah, probably. So legalize those, too. Yes, some people will end up getting addicted to them and having their lives ruined. However, I suspect that once the thrill of doing something illegal is gone, a lot of the interest will fade and drug use will go down.
Furthermore, it’s impossible to prevent people from getting addicted to all sorts of weird stuff. People sniff glue, paint and who knows what else. People lick toads to get cool hallucinations. In other words, there is no way to stop this sort of thing from going on, so don’t waste your time on it. All it does is give people who aren’t willing to obey the law a source of revenue; while squandering the law-abiding citizen’s money on a “drug war” that cannot be won.