Overall evidence for dangers of marijuana do not support continued criminalization.
Steadily it appears that its use will be permitted, though there remains a disconnect between state laws liberalizing possession and growing, vs. federal standards that at least as written, continue to criminalize use and distribution.
As the matter evolves, we should not be naïve to the potential risk of users abusing and developing an addiction to marijuana and its potential impact on cognition, and youth, especially when not used in “moderation.”
A New York Times article, “Legalizing of Marijuana Raises Health Concerns,” states:
“While marijuana can be addictive, scientists generally agree that fewer than 10 percent of marijuana smokers become dependent on the drug, compared with 15 percent for alcohol, 23 percent for heroin and 32 percent for tobacco.
Marijuana does contain carcinogens, including tar and other toxins similar to those found in tobacco, but people generally do not smoke marijuana in the same amounts as cigarettes. Still, legalization takes health consumers into murky territory. Even though marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, questions about its health effects remain.”
Sounds like the same risks, more or less, of many other legal substances, consumed in excess or misused, including alcohol, prescription drugs, and/or firearms. Whether society should outlaw substances and products that can be used with little risk or high damage is a question that is increasingly being answered at the ballot box.