At the close of last year, voters in Colorado and Washington State set a new precedent by passing a referendum to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
The change to the state's constitution allows anyone over the age of 21 to possess it and also for businesses to sell it.
And so it was that my friend and I began talking about whether or not the Colorado/Washington State trend would move other states to advocate the legalization of marijuana for recreational use and if it did, would using marijuana be preferable over the widely accepted use of alcohol?
We got into a heated discussion about what we would want for our kids when they ultimately face the choice of choosing a beer or a joint and the pros/cons of alcohol-a stimulant/depressant versus a marijuana-an organic, mild hallucinogen.
Let me begin by saying that you'll never find a girl who was more, "Nancy Reaganish" when it came to drugs than this girl. I proudly displayed my "Just Say No" button from school and firmly believed that ingesting drugs was a sure ticket to downfall. And particularly, as a college bound young woman focused on her academic future, I feared that if I ever tried pot, I'd become the stereotypical movie image of the pot smoking worthless you know what.
I was however, indoctrinated at a very early age into the "coolness" of house parties and consuming massive amounts of alcohol. At the time, both in high school and in college, drinking jungle juice usually comprised of Everclear or Vodka and some concoction of fruit juices housed in a garbage can was the drink of choice. I participated in and watched countless friends, get crazy, lose their inhibitions, then their lunch, and sometimes, other things. Getting drunk was considered and still is deemed a right of passage.
But alongside that experience is another one that no one wants to address because no one wants to admit that they've smoked pot. And that is...is a mild, organic hallucinogen addictive in the way that alcohol is and quite frankly, even remotely as damaging?
All I can say is...you be the judge of that. But don't stand on a pedestal if you've never smoked a joint and your only perception is what you've been told or seen in a movie.
The effects of alcohol are devastating. I've watched the addiction to it rip apart marriages, families, careers and people. I can't say the same for marijuana.
My children are young now. I'm not sure what the legal options will be when they're old enough to make that recreational or medicinal choice. For now, I just plan to have a candid dialogue when the topic emerges that doesn't include Nancy Reagan slogans.