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People typically think of cannabis legalization as one of those cut and dry things.

If you don't use marijuana, you probably don't want to legalize it.

If you do use marijuana, you are probably pro-legalization.

... except it's not that simple.


Reddit user SaifurCloudstrife asked:

"Redditors opposed to marijuana legalization and decriminalization: Why?"

Normally when these types of questions are asked, you get a bunch of people who are pro-the-thing chiming in and that absolutely happened here.

Interestingly, that opened up discourse that got people actually talking—probably more than they normally would have. The constant back and forth helped people get down to the core of their beliefs and reasons.

I can't say minds or hearts were changed, or even that people had particularly good reasons (and there were some not-great counter arguments, let's be real) when it came right down to it, but conversations were certainly had...

The 70's

"It's a drug."

"I have two examples in my close family that clearly show how devastating pot can be. This attitude to marijuana reminds me of the attitude towards cocaine in the mid to late seventies when everyone thought it was harmless 'nose candy.' "

"I'm against sentences for drug possession but many people would benefit from dealers serving 3-5 for selling pot."

- aykontakt

"But how is it any different than alcohol? Or would you ban that too? (Serious question)"

"Honestly, I think everyone against it should come to Canada for a visit. It's been legal here for 4 years and absolutely NONE of the spooky stories have come true."

"The only real differences is that people buy their weed in nice, clean stores with clear labels and not on street corners and our tax dollars don't go towards harassing people for a weekend indulgence."

- QueenShnoogleberry

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The Smell

"It stinks and makes people lazy."

- amateuraesthete

"It stinks"

- VanillaSarcoline

"I hate the smell it gives me headaches and makes me wanna puke!"

"And often the weed smokers don't care if they are a pain in the butt to others and that kind of apathy is a huge no for me."

- MyriamJean

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"I live in WA, where rec weed is legal."

"I rarely ever smell pot smoke. And I have the nose of a bloodhound."

"Yes, more often than as a teen when it was still illegal, but far less than any amount to be pro-prohibition about it."

"Plus, I mean, there's lots of smells I f*cking hate but wouldn't enact harmful laws over- Axe body spray being one."

- DiligentDaughter

"Laws can be made regarding where you can smoke."

"In Australia you can't smoke inside or within a certain distance to entryways. The only space you smell smoke is at an outdoor pub, designated smoking areas and occasionally when walking."

"It took years, but people become accustomed to new rules. Knowing Americans though, you guys will be on the brink of civil war if they brought in similar restrictions."

- IAMJUX

It's TOO Good

"I've read that the potency in pot these days is a hell of a lot stronger compared to say 20 or 30 yrs ago."

"The huge increase in THC levels should be a huge concern for people. The pot being legalized today is not the same I smoked when I was much younger."

- FreshStartLiving

"This argument has been rolled out again and again since I was in elementary school (~30 years ago) and I never understood it."

"THC is remarkably non-toxic, it's so much less toxic than many common substances people ingest on a regular basis (aspirin, and plenty of other OTC meds, as examples), to the point where actual THC toxicity is caused by physical rather than chemical/metabolic actions."

"Smoked cannabis is also much easier to titrate (dose appropriately), since the effects are nearly instantaneous - take a couple hits and you'll know if you've had enough within seconds."

Giphy

"As opposed to an accidental edible overdose where you might not know for a couple hours that you've taken a heroic dose."

"So a higher % of THC by weight in cannabis flower shouldn't be an issue, especially considering that back in D.A.R.E. they used to tell us that smoking cannabis was SO MUCH WORSE than smoking tobacco."

"Cannabis was supposedly so much 'harsher,' one joint contains 'toxins' equivalent to an entire pack of cigs, etc...which is total bull, but even if that were true...wouldn't that mean that stronger cannabis is less harmful, since you don't have to smoke so much to achieve the desired effect?"

"Can't have it both ways."

- r-whatdoyouthink_

It is high potency because it is illegal. It's easier to transport a half pound of skunk than 10 pounds of trash weed."

"Look at states that have legalized. There are low thc strains available and easily accessible."

- ADD-DDS

Like Cigarettes

"Because dipsh*ts will start smoking it in public places where others can not really avoid it, like is the case with cigarettes currently."

"Also yes: F*ck cigarettes."

- DariusIsLove

"Yep my problem is drugs in public."

"I do not care if you do drugs as long as your doing them in a private place. I don't want to breathe in your smoke and get lung cancer."

- Tom_89n

"I don't really have strong feelings regarding legalization but people who smoke anything in public spaces are annoying."

"I don't especially care what folks get up to on their own, it's when they make everyone around them a participant that it aggravates me."

"Plus, depending on the setting, it's really inconsiderate."

"I have a friend whose job does random drug testing and he left a bar because a bunch of folks were smoking inside and he was worried about work."

- illy-chan

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Go Away, Government!

"I'm for legalization but as someone that worked for corporate cannabis, I'd loathe seeing those scums run the market."

"My state Governor tried writing a recreational cannabis bill on their own terms since we are surrounded by recreational territories."

"They stated they didn't want it to lead to a ballot measure because that's worst case scenario (didnt think voters were educated) than proceeded to write the most comically bad legalization bill that existed - before completely dropping it because they couldn't write a competent law."

- Gat_Gat_Habitat

"I am about as anti pot as they come, but if they are going to legalize it, why wouldn't they make it legal to grow your own? (Rhetorical- I know the answer… same reason "they" are legalizing it… tax money)"

- tmccrn

"This is what I am screaming. For them it's only about money."

"They are waiting for the rich to install a profit making infrastructure before they let us peasants enjoy anything."

- Rancor8209

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The Idiots

"If I had any good reason it's because idiots insist it's not addictive and it doesn't impede your senses. So they drive and do dangerous sh*t while high."

"My issue isn't the severity of the impediment. It's that people refuse to admit that it does alter the mind."

"I already have one person insist they smoke weed and drive because they know their body."

"Now imagine if someone openly said that about alcohol and how you'd react. It's a really dumb mentality to have."

"If anything I'd push for it to be illegalized ALONG WITH alcohol and cigarettes."

"But prohibition taught us that is not the way to go."

- SketchySketchist

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The Same Path As Alcohol

"I believe that if it was legalized, it would become a much bigger part in society, much like how alcohol is now."

"I do have a problem with public drinking and personally view alcohol as much worse compared to marijuana."

"However, since drinking is already so ingrained in our society, it's not like we can get rid of it. I'm just hoping that weed doesn't follow in the same path as alcohol."

- cheetahstr1ke

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Snake Oil

"Im so sick of all these CBD oil pyramid schemes popping up!"

"The testimonials are all, 'I broke my spine in half and had to get it surgically fused together. Now all I have to do is rub a drop of CBD on it, and the pain is gone!' "

"And I'm not against it, I actually use high grade CBD at night to help me sleep. I hate going through a rep though, they always try to hard sell me on topical CBD for my back pain that's like $80 for a little jar, or $30 bath bombs."

"I have discs squeezing out of my spine, I'm pretty sure a dab of hemp oil is gonna do jack shit for that."

"And the cancer patient abuse!"

"Smoking or ingesting edibles with THC for pain management and appetite is super helpful for cancer patients, but cbd won't do anything. Not to mention getting an ounce of good weed won't set you back much, but getting a tiny vial of cbd can set you back a couple hundred bucks."

"With our healthcare system in the states, we know damn well cancer patients are already in a hole of debt. I'm worried legalizing will encourage these CBD lies."

"It's the new snake oil."

- Caserious

"My MIL is that person. She's was touting its Indica strains ability to outright cure cancer the last I saw her."

- aledayis

"Cancer patients get hit very hard with the cannabis oil scams. What kind of evil sh*t do you need to be to take advantage of desperate people?"

- OutrageousLie

"I agree with you about people thinking it's the grand cure all, but that's why I feel we SHOULD legalize."

"The main reason I want it legalize is so they can do more research on the things it does help. It's effect on tremors alone is fascinating."

- Nerdtrance

Wasted

"Used to smoke weed every single day for nearly 3 years and used to be all for legislation."

"Managed to get off it a while back and looking back, I think that stuff f*cked my life up completely. I wasted thousands on it and dropped out of college because of it."

"Also I lost my job because I got too depressed because all I used to think about was smoking weed. I'd wake up every morning and the first thing I thought about was weed."

"That's the same with nearly everyone who smokes it. You're only lying to yourself if you say it's not."

"I would never go back to it now. My days of smoking weed are over. F*ck that shit."

"I'm not saying this will happen to everyone but I know a LOT of people that just sit all day every day and smoke weed and completely waste their lives."

"On the other hand I don't know anyone who is able to hold down a decent job and smoke every day and try and say they aren't dependent on it. It's actually really sad to see."

"I'm also from the UK. It would turn this place into a zombie land 100%."

"And yes this will probably get downvoted to oblivion by all the stoners. I woulda done the same 4 months ago."

"They are all addicted/dependent on it. I don't like using the word addicted when talking about green because I don't think you can really become physically addicted to it."

"You won't have withdrawal symptoms or anything if you go off it but you can definitely become dependent on it which is almost the same as addicted I guess."

"Addiction is always around the corner from dependency."

"It's when you stop smoking it and see how much better you can handle your life without it."

"Some people find it very difficult to give up even though they know it might be affecting their family life or money, they continue to do it. That's when it becomes a problem."

"If you're smoking marijuana every day it's already been proven to lower IQ levels. Also if you started smoking in your teens it's thought to alter brain development, but I believe there are still studies going on in that."

"Marijuana is becoming more potent than ever. The studies will come out in the next ten years, I would be VERY surprised if smoking potent marijuana every day isn't doing any adverse affects on your health."

- McGintySir

Father Of The Bride Money GIF Giphy

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She Robbed A Store

"Marijuana ruined my best friend's life."

"She was really smart, but she ended up being peer pressured into marijuana and robbed a convenience store with a deadly weapon."

"She ended up not being able to finish college. We don't talk anymore because she blamed it on me because I didn't stop her (I was about 150 miles away and in a different state when she told me she was about to rob it, so there was nothing I could do anyway.)"

- ilovewalnuts

"Wait, she got talked into robbing a store, then tried to blame YOU for her robbing that store because you 'didn't stop her' like people need to be told not to rob places with deadly weapons... and you still think the problem was the weed and not the friend?"

"kay."

- [Reddit]

things bob GIF Giphy

No Ambition

"In my own personal experience, everyone that I've known to smoke weed either tried it once and hated it or became dependent and would smoke multiple times a day. There was absolutely no middle ground."

"Becoming dependent on a substance for normal daily living is incredibly unhealthy. They would smoke before exams, smoke before going to work. Smoke before going to class."

"We've seen the affects of alcohol dependence, and yet it's perfectly legal."

"The spill over effects of legalizing marijuana would enable people who are already dependent on the drug to function in normally society, to not ever get any kind of substance abuse help. Why would they if they can walk to their nearest dispensary to buy more?"

"A girl I dated a few months ago was also heavily dependent."

"She told me straight up she has no ambition to actively pursue higher paying jobs because the one she was in at the time allowed her the flexibility to work from home and secretively smoke weed whenever she wanted."

"She worried that pursuing a higher paying higher responsibility job would hinder her ability to smoke weed when she wanted to."

"Again to reiterate, making marijuana legal only serves to reinforce the fact that these people engaging in these habits is okay because it's legal and they face no repercussions."

"Not to mention the act of smoking weed hinders everybody else around you not just yourself. If I want to have a beer while I'm playing video games, that doesn't bother my neighbor."

"If my neighbor wants to smoke weed while he's playing video games, now I and the other neighbors have to smell it and it stinks."

"Weed contains pollutants that can stain the area around you over time similar to cigarettes. Just look at what cigarettes do to people's houses after 40 years of smoking indoors."

- NotBen_2

Im Good Regina King GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

Let's Talk About Schedules

"I'm against decriminalization but not against legalization. Decriminalization allows it to still be used against people. Legalization is the way to go here."

"I say this as a Federal employee: The schedule needs to be re-evaluated."

"For those who doesn't know what that means, a drug's schedule (or danger level in layman's terms) is based upon the potential for abuse and it's apparent medical applications. Heroin, LSD, Ecstasy and marijuana are all schedule 1, at the top."

"Legally they have 'no currently accepted medical use' in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse."

"Schedule 2 substances have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence and are mostly opioids: methadone, fentanyl, morphine, opium, adderall, Ritalin, codeine, etc."

"Schedule 3 substances have a potential for abuse less than substances in Schedules I or II and abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence and include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and Tylenol with codeine."

"Finally schedules 4 and 5 have things on descending scales of potential for abuse, and are things like valium and Xanax [4] and codeine containing cough syrups [5]."

"Okay, enough context, now back to marijuana."

"Schedule 1 means no currently accepted medical use. I think that right there should be challenged."

"Dozens of states have recognized marijuana as successful treatment protocols for a multitude of medical conditions. Studies from all over the world have shown decades worth of use for conditions including:"

"Alzheimer's disease"

"Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)"

"HIV/AIDS"

"Cancer"

"Crohn's disease"

"Epilepsy and seizures"

"Glaucoma"

"Multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms"

"Severe and chronic pain"

"Severe nausea"

"Next, a schedule 1 drug means there is 'a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.' "

"This is talking about the risk of overdose and dosage delivery. I have never heard of a single person dying from marijuana overdose. Nobody has. Doctors have been looking for it since the 1950's and it hasn't happened. So I challenge that."

"Finally: 'a high potential for abuse.' I have never seen anyone with a crippling marijuana addiction."

"Notice how neither cigarettes, alcohol, nor caffeine are mentioned anywhere. That is because they are not scheduled."

"And here we see the political underpinnings of how these substances are scheduled. Tobacco products come with horrible health related issues from the tar and nicotine in them, whether smoked or dipped."

"I would say that all 3 are more habit forming than marijuana. The health impacts are also more severe, whether you want to talk about abuse (DUIs, domestic incidents and fights while drunk) and the long term medical effects linked with them such as pneumonia, COPD, liver disease and high blood pressure along with a variety of cancers."

"If you look at the values relative to other substances, the logic behind the schedule falls apart. Mostly because there wasn't any logic to begin with. I won't get into details, but look up Harry J. Anslinger and what he said about WHY cannabis needed to be a federal issue."

"But let's think about what being Schedule 1 means."

"According to the government cannabis has no medical uses, it's more harmful than meth or fentanyl? It's more addictive than morphine? It's so dangerous it needs to be given under medical supervision or you can overdose?"

"None of that is true and everyone has always known that."

"As for why I am against decriminalization, here is the reason: its still illegal. It still becomes a charge for suspicion."

"This is changing in some places, but the old "I smelt marijuana in the car and had grounds to search the entire vehicle" and racial disparities of police justice have their roots."

"Also, I am a big fan of firearms. I'm a federal employee. If marijuana is only decriminalized, legally they can still say 'guns or pot, pick one, you cant have both or its a felony.' and 'yes its decriminalized but as a federal employee you still can't partake no matter how much it helps you.' "

"I've never consumed, but as a child it was done a lot around me in my household and friends homes. I grew up with responsible use so I'm well familiar with what that REALLY looks like."

- CannibalVegan

Independence Day Makes No Sense GIF by Paramount Network Giphy

So what have we really learned here? I'm not really certain.

Lots of people's reasons seemed under-informed, but just as many people had legitimate concerns.

Sure, those concerns could just as easily be applied to alcohol, but lots of Redditors admitted that and seemed to take LARGER issue with alcohol than cannabis. It was honestly difficult to find anyone (aside from the smell people) who was 100% against it.

And that, dear reader, is possibly the biggest takeaway from this. Attitudes are changing.

Sorry, D.A.R.E.—looks like we said yes to drugs. Well, cannabis at least.


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