I'm over 50 years old, and live in stodgy ol' New England, Land of Steady Habits. I'm a professional substance abuse counselor, and I work in that capacity in a prison system. I think drugs of abuse - so called "recreational drugs" - especially marihuana, should be legalized.
I used to belong to an organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, I joined it so long ago that it was a secret organization. So secret that they lost my email address. Just as well. It was secret because any Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) who espoused legalization could and would be persecuted and ostracized. I'm ready to join again.
Why would I want drugs legalized? Especially when it might threaten my job security? Well, I'm not worried about job security, I'll talk about that in a minute. Here are my reasons: 1- As with "The Great Experiment", the current war on drugs is not working. Not working! Nay, the war is lost. Locking up addicts is not the answer, not to mention being very expensive. And the dealers and those higher up in the manufacturing and distribution system are rarely locked up. 2- Treating drug addicts would be much easier if they weren't de-facto criminals. The 2nd step in giving addicts their lives back is to restore their places in society (the 1st is getting them to admit to a problem...). This is difficult at best, near impossible for ex-cons. And 3- it would save Mexico as a viable 1st world country.
The US Department of State has issued a Travel Alert for those intending to visit Mexico. This is because the violence in Mexico has gotten to the point that no one is really safe. Many US Colleges and Universities are also discouraging their students from taking their spring breaks in Mexico. There's a nice article on the blog Down With Tyranny that has more details.
I have a correspondent in Torreon, he is very like me. He is middle aged, has a family, lives in a nice neighborhood. He tells of gun battles on his street. A house down the street was apparently a drug cartel 'safe house' that was stormed by the police. Many were killed. I can't imagine that happening in my neighborhood. And Torreon is not really a border town. Mexico has suffered 7000 killings last year related to drug trafficking. Recently, I saw a diary pleading with Obama and the Dems to not attempt to ban assault weapons. Perhaps political suicide... but consider this: there are about 6600 gun dealers along the US-Mexico border, most dealing out their homes. Guns are not easy to get in Mexico, a permit has to be approved by the military, and even so, no assault weapons or large caliber pistols. No, they are much easier to get by buying them in the US and smuggling them back.
But I want to say, I think marihuana is a dangerous drug, more dangerous that is generally recognized, and I'm not advocating its unabated (ab)use. It needs to be legalized and socialized, controlled, taxed, and those who succumb to its dangers should be treated - but not in prisons. Earlier I said I'm not worried about job security. I'm not. Legal or not, there are and will continue to be plenty of addicts and alcoholics needing treatment. With drugs legal, there will be more money to pay for that treatment.