Illinois catches up, a little bit

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Illinois is the only state that I’ve ever lived in, and I can trace my family’s history in the state back for not quite 200 years. Yesterday, the state that I call home became the 20th state to allow for the use of medical marijuana. I’m glad that help can now be legally obtained by many people who need it, and were probably already using it, anyway.

I don’t have a problem with adults who want to light up, medicinally or otherwise. I’m not convinced that it will lead directly to heroin and other drugs, as some opponents claim it does. And alcohol already takes such a terrible toll on our society that marijuana can’t possibly be any worse. Alcohol seems to fuel our society in some sense, and nobody ever seems to question this. But for anyone who goes out and gets blitzed, or who abuses prescription drugs, to then oppose someone else who wants to cultivate a different type of buzz seems hypocritical to me. To each his own, and if rolling up a fat joint happens to be your own, then more power to you.

Two states have already legalized marijuana for recreational use, and I don’t know whether Illinois will do so in my lifetime. Would I think about smoking it if they did? Probably, but the truth is that just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it must be indulged in. Alcohol is legal, but my two-plus years of sobriety are among the best ones that I’ve ever had. I feel great, and I’m setting an example for my kids not to use it, either. And so can it be with pot, too.

Marijuana has been used for decades–even centuries–to help people cope with various pains and medical issues. There’s no reason to criminalize this, and I’m glad that a less-progressive-than-I-would-hope-for Illinois has finally recognized the value of doing so.

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