I don't like drinking alcohol. It just makes me feel queasy and sleepy. So I find it odd that alcohol is legal, despite it being responsible for innumerable cases of violence and death, and yet marijuana, despite being much less harmful, if it causes any harm at all, is illegal and yet has not been responsible for even a single death due to an overdose. I'm not sure about deaths caused indirectly by marijuana, but while I hear a lot of drunken driving deaths, I've never heard of a marijuana-induced death. And as for violence, the way I heard one person say it was "marijuana makes you too lazy to commit violence".
That's why I hope an initiative to legalize marijuana gets on the ballot and manages to be passed. It should sharply reduce the number of marijuana-related arrests. It might even reduce crime rates, since getting a criminal record for non-violent offenses really puts a damper into getting a legitimate income. It should also significantly reduce the amount of money that has to be spent on law enforcement and imprisonment, which do not really help curtail rates of marijuana use.
Unlike some people, I do not think that politicians have a negative position on drugs because they're in the pocket of law enforcement or the prison industry. While a large amount of money is being poured in these operations for drug control, I think the problem has more to do with the general perception of marijuana and narcotic drugs in general. Most people probably have a negative view of drugs simply because that's what they've been told and they don't really think things through or examine the data. Most politicians probably have the same problem, and even if they don't, they might think that it could be political suicide to be lax on drugs.
I hope that the initiative to legalize marijuana in California gets on the ballot and is able to pass. Not only would it legalize a drug that is much less harmful than legal substances such as alcohol or nicotine, it would signal that the general public is no longer so anti-drug, or at least anti-marijuana, so that it would no longer be political suicide to even mention a lax attitude towards drugs.
The only real worry I have with marijuana legalization is that it might eventually become expected to smoke marijuana in a social setting, just like one is expected to consume alcohol. I always hated drinking just because of social expectations, and I would not like having to smoke marijuana. At least with alcohol I have a medical reason to refuse. I'll probably have to stand strong in my refusals if smoking marijuana ever becomes socially expected.