The day I used to dream about in college finally arrived on Nov. 6 when pot became legal for recreational use in certain states.
I’ve been out of college for more than 15 years now and I’m torn about the issue.
My liberal heart is cheering for the state amendments in Colorado and Washington, but the parent inside me is struggling with the idea.
I think that individuals should be allowed to decide what they do to their bodies – whether it is alcohol or drugs – it is up to them to self-regulate and manage their consumption. But, I don’t feel that applies to adolescents.
Amendment 64 — the measure seeking the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by adults — was passed by Colorado voters, making Colorado the first state to end marijuana prohibition in the United States.
Even though the amendment specifically states that you must be age 21 or older to purchase, this opens the floodgates to easier obtain-ability for our teens.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a vocal opponent to the measure, reacted to the passage of the amendment in the following statement:
“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.”
Now, I’m 38 and have no interest in smoking pot. So why am I torn?
I have no problem legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.
But I’m confused when it comes to recreational use.
Do I want the legal right to smoke pot if I choose? Yes.
Do I think it is right for parents to smoke pot when they are responsible for children? No.
So, how do we respect the rights and freedoms that our country was based on, and protect the children that surround us?
Many argue that marijuana should be illegal because it is an easy gateway drug for individuals, leading to narcotics and other addictions. There is a level of truth to that, but I believe it’s not because of the marijuana. Marijuana is a gateway drug for those who have addictive personalities and levels of unmanaged depression. The same can be said of alcohol.
I enjoy a glass of wine almost every night, yet I never feel a desire to go further – to drink more or experiment with drugs. That’s because I don’t feel a need there; I don’t feel a sense of emptiness that I’m looking to fill.
Perhaps society should be taking more time to look why people use marijuana and not just the legalities of it all. Why is Dad smoking pot after the kids go to bed? Why is that teenager smoking alone in her room? Having those answers could help us understand how to manage the legalization of marijuana.
Danielle Herzog is married and a mother to two children. Read her every Wednesday on momaha.
What are your thoughts? Where would you draw the line?
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