I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about whether individuals should smoke marijuana. However, I have deep concerns about where marijuana smokers should be permitted to use their drug of choice. Laws exist that regulate alcohol consumption, and most municipalities also have laws that regulate the sale and use of cigarettes. Those laws are designed to protect the public. Similar laws are needed to protect the general public from marijuana smoke.
Restricting where and who can use marijuana will go a long way towards protecting the public. Otherwise, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana will adversely impact the quality of life and the health of many people. Those most likely to be adversely affected are: the poor, children, the elderly, and people who suffer from respiratory problems. The economically disadvantaged and many people living in senior citizen’s buildings live in poorly ventilated houses/apartments. Fumes and odors easily spread from one dwelling to another. Therefore it is not fair that people who choose not to smoke marijuana and choose not to expose their children to marijuana should be subjected (especially in the privacy of their own homes) to second-hand marijuana smoke just because of where they live and because of their economic status.
Following are some questions that elected officials should ponder and answer before they vote to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
- Will it be legal to smoke marijuana in open spaces such as in parks, playgrounds, at bus stops, and on sidewalks?
- Will smoking marijuana be legal in public places such as nightclubs, stadiums, and government buildings?
- Will adults be permitted to smoke marijuana in the presence of children?
- At what age will it be legal to engage in the recreational use of marijuana?
- Will the recreational use of marijuana be regulated? If so how?
- Will apartment dwellers be permitted to smoke marijuana in their apartments, even if the fumes travel to and through other apartments?
Legalizing marijuana, in my opinion, is not a moral issue’ it is a public health and welfare concern.