Pot may be far less risky than highly addictive drugs, but it's not harmless
Tang Yau Hoong
Some people think marijuana is nature’s gift to humankind: a nonaddictive drug, safe at any dose, that opens the mind, lifts the spirit and transports the user to a more profound reality.
“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world,” a user named Mr. X wrote in the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered.
Close to 30 years later, Mr. X was revealed to be the legendary science communicator and astronomer Carl Sagan. His message still reverberates with many Americans, whose support for legalizing marijuana has tripled since 1989 — from 16 percent to 54 percent today. In Colorado and Washington state, voters legalized recreational marijuana use in November 2012. That formal embrace of marijuana may signal a growing shift in acceptance. Today, 21 states