For more than 70 years, the sale of marijuana for recreational use has been illegal in the United States. But that ban, as it has existed for decades, ended on Jan. 1, 2014 in Colorado.
The historic first, legal sales of recreational marijuana to those 21-and-older began at select dispensaries in Colorado -- the first state in the nation, and the first government in the world, to control and regulate a legal recreational marijuana industry.
We asked our Facebook fans -- mostly over the age of 50 -- whether they thought legal pot shops were a good idea for the rest of the country. And we were inundated with a wide range of responses. Some people were adamantly against the idea -- while others insisted marijuana is a lot less harmful than alcohol.
Here's what folks had to say. Have anything to add? Let us know in comments.
1) "Stupid that it's illegal when [cigarettes and alcohol] are legal and much more detrimental to the user and innocents around them. Study after study shows that marijuana is a much safer alternative that booze or cigs. And it actually has health benefits for some. It's also not a stepping stone to harder drug use. I'm a southern conservative liberal, 53 year old, SAHM of two children, 12 and 14. I worked 25 years in the ER and OR of a major hospital. Had thousands of patients who were there due to alcohol and cigs and other drugs. Lots of innocent bystanders injured and victimized by those on alcohol, drugs or second hand cigarette smoke. Never a single patient was ever there as a result of or victim of smoking pot. Never!!" said Kimberly Minton Freeman.
2) "I'm just wondering about driving on the streets with all those who are driving in another dimension!" said Debbie Gregorio Sottile.
3) "Yes! About time! The world should learn from Colorado. It will definitely diminish small crime and less petty work for the police force! ***** stars for Colorado! A beautiful place!" said Astra Vauxhall Byhre.
4) "I am personally against marijuana of any kind. Look at all the young people that are addicted to drugs and it usually starts with pot. Drugs have hurt many people 15 to 45 years old [and keep them] from living up to their potential. They become lethargic and forget their ambitions and commitments to education and careers. I watched this happen to people since the 70s," said Jane Thompson.
7) "I don't think it will have any effect on the rest of the country. We'll have to see if it's a good idea for Colorado. It makes sense. It frees up resources used to combat marijuana's use and distribution and is a source of revenue for the state but I can't see it being legalized here in New North South Carolina LLC," said Jim Britt.
8) "The confusing part for me is that we are trying to get people to stop smoking tobacco because of emphysema and lung cancer but we are okay with pot smoking being legal. It doesn't make sense," said Anita Skeets Rogers.
9) "It's about time. How many lives lost, lives spoiled by prison, costs for the former ... all because of a natural product that people are using anyway -- legal or not? Not talking hard chemical drugs here. Just weed. Like prohibition of alcohol once upon a time -- was it the useless loss of lives that sparked the change? Or the cost shouldered by taxpayers to keep it illegal??" said Rhonda Burnham.
10) "No, this law has very lax controls over how it is sold. They have it in candy form and brownie form. You can't sell aspirin that way; why can you sell pot that way? Very dangerous. The first kid that goes to ER after eating this is going to cause a big lawsuit at the least," said Linda Hart Stone.
11) "YES! I am 56 years old and it should be available to all. Alcohol is the killer," said Diane Daly.
12) "Oh, good. More wasted losers to support with my taxes. Sooner or later, drug users all end up in the gutter. They have no self-discipline, no values, no ethics. Self gratification is their goal. So I'm not surprised, I'm just appalled. If you weren't so high you could see the logic of this. Get sober," said Louise Butler.
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