Bill, I like you, but I'm going to be really honest here: You have no idea who is smoking pot regularly.
Doctors, attorneys, accountants, business owners, laborers of all kinds, home makers, college students, craftsmen, artists, entertainers...
And why do they do it?
The full range of reasons. Some are using it to cope, some are abusing it, some are seeking some escape or relaxation no different from those drinking booze, others do medical and many of those are valid. I have personal and profound experience with this BTW. --Was asked to prepare some for a person who knew they could trust me to get it right. Life changing results too. And you know what? This stuff isn't hard to work with, isn't toxic, and there are a lot of options for people, many of which are just now being explored realistically.
Of course, it's really easy to say, "those stoners" in the same way it's easy to say unemployed people are "lazy" and it's just as useless too. Truth is, the demographics of pot look an awful lot like the ones associated with booze. Most people aren't really aware of that, and they generally aren't aware when they present as hostile. Nobody wants the hassle, so they just avoid those people politely. That's you Skybill. Avoided. Count on it. Bet you know at least a few people who use and who simply keep you out of the loop. This is true for a very large number of adults today.
The medical movement has accomplished a lot. This stuff works for a fairly large number of conditions. I would list them, but you can go and look easy enough. Testing, chemistry, etc... is rapidly deriving the benefits and I understand how much we have missed out on by denying our researchers the means to get this all sorted out like we do so many other things. Borderline criminal. No joke.
The recreational movement is learning from the medical successes. Largely, I agree with them, and given the demographics, find it completely obvious why we are wasting our time with draconian enforcement that really only benefits the "war on drugs" machine and private prisons.
A friend of mine, practicing attorney who was using it medically in a Southern State did a cool 7 years for that use. Got out, got his law license back, and bravely remains in that State as an advocate for reform, using his practice to help people avoid the painful experience he had.
My experience with the basic reality over the last 7 years or so have clashed near completely with the ugly messages we hear near constantly. And I use extremely rarely.
For me personally, I take some recovery time. The more heady stuff I do just is a mess, and I need / want to do that stuff too. Not a worry, and on those times when I have the luxury, I've no worries and it's legal. Funny world we live in these days. Oregon is simple. People who are authorized to give care, or grow, whatever, have the same protections the patient does, no questions asked.
And in the past, I've gotten hooked on things. Had some experiences. Hey, we are all 20 somethings for a time. Not gonna discuss those, other than to say I spent the better part of a week kicking them once, thinking "never again" and that's that. A basic life lesson there, easily learned. So many people find themselves unable to do that, and the cost to society is very, very high. We can fix that too, but we insist on fear and shame based policy that is a near complete failure.
Pot really isn't in that class of things. The vast majority of people are just fine, and again, that's the same for booze, which we encourage, despite some people having very dangerous physiology, mostly dooming them to a booze addled struggle with life on the first fucking drink!
What's worse? We know this. We know all of it. Ask the scientists, experts, etc... and they can cite it all chapter and verse. But we deny this, and we do it because there is a lot of money wrapped up in the war on drugs, which is about as effective as W's war of choice was, and over time, just as costly too.
I guess the other parallel is sex education. We know about that too. We know what works, how, and do we actually do it? No. And there are enough of us fixated on fear and shame based policy to fuck things up for the majority of us.
The same dynamic exists here. Similar stigmas surround it all too. One basic sex issue is failure to get education, with the failure centered on social stigma and pressures of various kinds. Pot? Same story.
And I'll just say it. The left understands these things and would very rapidly resolve a lot of it. We have an effective policy vision, and we know it will work nicely. The left generally takes the data and operates with it.
Well, facts rarely appear to matter, with values, fear, shame, ignorance and the usual list of painful things all contributing to a much more painful state of things than we know is necessary.
So here's the deal Bill. You quite simply are woefully uninformed. And you can change that too. Consider it.