We are well along the road toward the "normalization" or "medicalization" of the use of marijuana in many U.S. states and I don't think that there is any way to reverse this trend. A recent article discussed another aspect of marijuana use -- the "bureaucratization" of the use of the drug in California by which is meant the development of governmental regulation primarily designed to extract the maximum tax revenue from the process (see: California lawmakers create medical marijuana 'bureau' to regulate industry). Below is an excerpt from it:
Nearly 20 years after California became the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana, legislators have a plan to impose order on the erratic patchwork of inconsistent policies that currently govern the billion-dollar industry....[L]awmakers [have] passed a trio of bills that create a legal framework that puts the state firmly in control of managing marijuana from “seed to sale” while still leaving local municipalities with the ability to craft their own ordinances and impose taxes....The deal was brokered with the assistance of governor Jerry Brown, virtually ensuring it will be signed into law. Under the plan, a new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation will be created inside the existing Department of Consumer Affairs, charged with managing almost all aspects of marijuana growing, distribution and sale. The bureau would oversee state licenses in these areas, but only if a local license has already been approved....That “local control” element has been a major sticking point for the legislation since discussions began early this year, with law enforcement and city and county governments insistent that they have the ability to regulate the specifics of cannabis commerce within their communities, and some growers initially wary of a plan that was supported by police....The bills also cover a large array of other issues, big and small, including tracking mechanisms such as bar coding to follow marijuana from the time it is planted until sold to consumers.
What we are seeing now in those states where the sale and use of medical marijuana is legal is the creation of a legal and regulatory framework to ensure that the product is taxed and the there is some measure of local control of the drug. In a previous note, a discussed some of the problems encountered with the pro-canabis legislation in Colorado (see: Possible Consequences of the Pro-Cannabis Legislation in Colorado). One of the most interesting from a medical perspective is the inability to rapidly detect impaired driving under the influence of the drug. Here is a quote from the note:
I am personally most worried about people operating cars under the influence of cannabis although this is surely a common occurrence in other states where pot is not legal. Apparently smoking pot will be the basis for a DUI citation in Colorado according to state authorities (see: Don’t puff & drive? Expect DUIs for pot in Colorado). Drivers suspected of smoking pot will be subjected to a blood test so the process won't be a quick as measuring blood alcohol.