Marijuana’s New “Sheen of Legitimacy”–Logical or Dangerous?


Marijuana, the most prevalent illicit drug in the U.S., seems to be getting less illicit by the day, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Among recent developments that would have been unfathomable during the “War on Drugs” of President Ronald Reagan: Colorado and Washington voted last fall to legalize marijuana for recreational use; the Illinois House voted last week to join the 18 states that have already legalized marijuana for medical use; St. Louis’ Board of Aldermen voted overwhelmingly last week to reduce the penalty for minor possession to a traffic-ticket-level offense. “Hard” drugs such as crack and heroin are wreaking as much havoc as ever in cities, while methamphetamine has become the scourge of rural areas. To those familiar with modern hard-drug culture, joints and bongs may sound almost quaint by comparison. “Methamphetamine is a really wicked substance. (Meth addicts) look like they're 100 years old,” said criminologist John Galliher of the University of Missouri at Columbia. “Marijuana is a different story. With methamphetamine around, pot doesn't seem so bad.” To some anti-drug activists, that new sheen of legitimacy is one of the most dangerous developments. “It's an unfortunate trend,” centered on “false information that marijuana is benign,” said David Evans of the Drug Free America Foundation foundation, a national group based in Florida.

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