Several states have de-criminalized possession of personal use quantities of marijuana. Some have begun the process of legalizing marijuana as a consumer product, so that it can be sold to the general public as a recreational drug (like alcohol and cigarettes) and of course, taxed.
Obviously we think this is a bad idea. Our real-world experience helping people whose lives have been consumed by substance abuse and drug addiction tells us that gateway drugs do exist, and that marijuana is a gateway drug for some people. Perhaps more importantly, for those at risk of addiction, pot smoking is a behavior strongly associated with drug addiction. But legalization is a complex issue worthy of serious consideration. But will it get serious consideration?
The current economic situation makes additional "sin taxes" like a tax on open pot sales very attractive. Some see it as a gold mine. It is fairly easy to rationalize legalization if you recognize the current system of medical marijuana to be largely a hoax, with some states granting "medical" use to recreational drug users complaining of malaise or boredom, for example. Some studies have suggested legalization would result in savings of $12.1 billion in police and court costs, plus another $16.9 billion in corrections costs.