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...first of all, smoking marijuana in the States AND in China is illegal; and while getting caught in the U.S. may lead to a relatively minor charge, getting caught in China could lead to much more serious consequences. So in THIS regard, I'd certainly advise caution.|
From a health point of view, however, I'd argue that marijuana is no more dangerous or harmful than cigarettes or alcohol. I'd like to emphasize that I do not smoke at all (tobacco or marijuana), but have no real problem with people who do (so long as it isn't blown into my face).
Compared with tobacco, all the evidence I've seen seems to indicate that tobacco is far MORE harmful physically than marijuana is; if you're going to argue that marijuana should be illegal for health reasons, then you MUST argue that tobacco should be illegal.
Of course, marijuana DOES have an effect on the brain, too...it alters one's mood, alters one's perceptions. And some people argue that this is the main reason it is wrong to use it. However, I'd like to point out that the effects of ALCOHOL are far greater than the effects of marijuana in this regard; compare a person who is stoned on marijuana, and a person who is drunk on alcohol, and it should not be too difficult to come to the conclusion that the alcohol has a greater effect than the marijuana. So again -- if you're going to argue that marijuana is bad because it affects the mind, then you should also argue that alcohol is bad, because it affects the mind.
Canada is also close to legalizing the use of marijuana; and personally, I approve of this, even though I don't use the stuff myself. It seems hypocritical to have tobacco and alcohol as legal substances, but designate marijuana as illegal.
I DO think there should be reasonable legal safeguards. Just as it is illegal in Canada to sell cigarettes to anyone under 16 years old, I think it should be illegal to sell marijuana to anyone under 16 years old. And just as it is illegal to drive a car when under the influence of alcohol, I think it should also be illegal to drive a car when under the influence of marijuana.