Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Should Marijuana Be Like Alcohol In Public Use?


Marijuana has become mainstream, 23 states have recreational and 40 have medical marijuana. A whooping 90% believe it should be legal in some form and even Fox News covers it during business segments. But with legalization, comes a whole bunch of rules, policies and guidelines for use.  We have gone through this before with smoking and alcohol, and now it is starting with cannabis.  Should marijuana be like alcohol in public use?  Would it make things much easier all the way around.

people playing soccer on green grass field during daytime

Tobacco use is harmful, but the industry put up a good fight about where you could light up. Up until the 1970s you could smoke anywhere, planes, hospitals, restaurants, schools, church, etc.  Looking back it seems crazy to think about it. Pressure for an inflight plane smoking ban came from the public, Ralph Nader and the flight attendants’ unions, such as the Association of Flight Attendants. United Airlines was the first to create a nonsmoking section in 1971.  Literally, at the time, you could be one row behind the smoking session and it was considered ok. It wasn’t until 1993 that you couldn’t smoke in a hospital. Today’s generation takes it for granted all the smoke free air.

RELATED: California or New York – Which Has The Biggest Marijuana Mess?

Alcohol, on the other hand, has been wiser and it is smells way less. First, the United States went for a crazy, failed experiment called Prohibition, that outlawed all alcohol.  The lesson taught everyone how to break the law and not feel bad about it.

Colorado Weed
Photo by MichaelGaida via Pixabay

Between 1975 and 1990, cities and states slowly started to impose different versions of open container laws as a response to the decriminalization of public drunkenness and homelessness. Public spaces, especially those family friendly, became less accepting of alcohol. The two big exceptions are New Orleans and the Las Vegas Strip. During Covid and post-Covid exceptions were made due to limited indoor restaurant and bar space.

Unlike cigarettes, alcohol is not banned, rather you aren’t supposed to have it in an open container as it is easier to drink some alcohol without noticeable smells.

In Duluth, Minnesota, the City Council took more than an hour of public testimony from concerned citizens as the state’s fifth largest municipality considers whether it should prohibit people from smoking marijuana in its public parks.  Other cities in the state are considering similar rules.  Currently you can walk streets in most major cities and have a whiff of cannabis. And that is rubbing some people the wrong way for a variety of reasons.

RELATED: Americans Want It, Some Politicians Prefer a Nanny State

Open container laws don’t outlaw drinking, rather it builds guidelines for a larger population. As how we consume marijuana changes, it makes sense to adapt to some laws which the public accepts and provide legal pathways for consumers.


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