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EDITORIAL: Tolerance and marijuana

Posted 9/15/22

The United States reached a milestone at the end of August that may have escaped many people’s attention. According to a Gallup poll, more Americans admitted to smoking marijuana than puffing on …

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EDITORIAL: Tolerance and marijuana

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The United States reached a milestone at the end of August that may have escaped many people’s attention.

According to a Gallup poll, more Americans admitted to smoking marijuana than puffing on cigarettes. Gallup reported that 16% of Americans say they currently use marijuana, while just 11% say they smoke cigarettes. This is quite a sea change for anyone who remembers when offices, restaurants and shopping centers would routinely have a fog of cigarette smoke hanging over them, while, at the same time, marijuana was demonized as a drug favored by glassy-eyed stoners and outlaw rock musicians.

Some of this shift can be credited to baby boomers reaching the heights of political and economic power over the last couple of decades, and generations even more tolerant of marijuana following them. It also undoubtedly is a result of a better understanding of just how addictive and harmful tobacco is, while marijuana has been shown to ease pain and nausea and is less addictive. Marijuana also does not seem to have the same destructive impact on the lungs and heart that cigarettes do.

Medical marijuana is now legal in most of the country, and marijuana is legal for recreational use in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The day when marijuana is regulated, taxed and available pretty much anywhere within the United States is probably not too far over the horizon.

It’s probably best, of course, if people avoid marijuana if they can, along with tobacco and alcohol. But when you consider how marijuana use has now been accepted by the American mainstream, having someone drag the ball and chain of a minor marijuana conviction throughout their life seems particularly pointless too.

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