I’ve usually considered myself “libertarian” in most regards. I used to think that it was alright if people wanted to smoke pot. “Let people make their own choice,” I used to think. However, I have changed my position and feel strongly that marijuana should be tightly regulated, and available only to people who truly need it — for example, it helps people with glaucoma and it eases the nausea for people undergoing chemotherapy. Pharmacists could have control of the drug and, if the doctors and pain specialists make an effort, they can dispense it to those who actually need it, and try to ensure that excessive amounts aren’t sold. (There is a P.S. note at the end of this post.)

The state where I live recently passed a law that permits people to smoke marijuana legally. I voted against the law. Also, I recall, when Mitt Romney was running for the presidency, I hoped he would enforce the federal ban on smoking marijuana. Let me tell you why:

First, tonight I checked out an article, “Colo. lawmakers consider new standards for driving under influence of marijuana.” A state senator told a Denver reporter at the city’s Fox affiliate station,

“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, the marijuana industry needs to do the same with friends don’t let friends drive high because it’s every bit as dangerous.” …

None of our drivers under the influence aced the simulator, but that’s why Officer Mark Ashby says any impairment should keep you off the road.

“It doesn`t matter what the chemical is. If the impairment is from drugs or alcohol, you’re breaking the law,” Ashby says.

Some people I’ve known casually in the past use marijuana regularly. One woman in particular gets so stoned that she can hardly stand up. One day, she wanted to drive me in my car. I told her, “No way.” She used to come over to watch television programs with me. Nearly every single time, her head would nod forward and she’d fall asleep. Besides marijuana, she also uses a number of prescription drugs. (Before we go further, be assured that I have nothing to do with this woman. Besides, she plans to move soon, and I sure hope she does.)

One man who lived near her told me that he had to often enter her apartment and pick her up off the floor. She regularly passes out from the effects of the drugs and marijuana. Yes, I have reported this to the appropriate authorities, but no one has done anything about it to the best of my knowledge. Nor has the apartment complex where we both live. They know that active drug users live here. Supposedly, they run criminal background checks on all applicants. I suspect that 1) they don’t run the background checks and simply pocket the money, or 2) they do run the background checks and don’t care. Besides, I discovered recently, most criminal background checks only apply to the previous TWO years.

Me? I have never liked marijuana. I remember that many moons ago, when I was in college, I’d go to parties where people smoked marijuana, and I hated being around people when they were stoned.

I believe marijuana has become increasingly stronger, supplemented with god knows how many other drugs — to enhance the effects, and to get people addicted to using it.

One person who tried marijuana a few years ago told me that they felt like “a mummy in King Tut’s tomb.” He said that he couldn’t concentrate on his TV or even converse with other friends.

Clearly, this kind of marijuana poses a serious threat to other motorists and their communities. The excessive use of marijuana also places a large burden on local law enforcement officers.

Here’s another story that sent a chill down my spine. An apartment manager where I used to live told me that a tenant had spray-painted the side of her small car. So, to get back at him, she called the local police. She said that when he opened the door, he had a crack pipe in his hand. I laughed at first, then it dawned on me that she KNEW he was smoking crack.

So, wherever you live, be cautious. Lock your doors and windows. It’s a drag. Trust me, I know. I love fresh air and like to have my windows open, especially in the summer. But, every single time I leave my home, I will need to make sure that all the windows and doors are locked. (I’ve also taken other measures to ensure my safety, and would be interested in hearing your advice about ways that we all can stay safe.)

But on the highways? How can we possibly know who’s high on pot or crack or drunk? So far, I’ve been very lucky. I doubt there’s any easy solution to the problem. Even if we make all substances illegal, people — as we all know — will find a way to make their own concoctions. (Remember “moonshine” during Prohibition?) And I know of people who grow pot out in a large forest near where I live.

So, for now, I drive slowly, and I keep plenty of distance between my car and others’ cars. Sometimes drivers get angry, and pass me. So what, I say? Let them drive over the speed limit. I just hope that they don’t kill somebody someday. They probably have. I don’t drive often enough to know. I mostly drive about 10 to 20 miles, and will likely use a van service or ride along with a careful driver who has a large, safe car (with all the airbags). My little car? It’s a sitting duck. I don’t have side airbags. Again, I’ve been very lucky. But, who knows … one of these days I may get involved in a major collision and be seriously injured or die. (One of my “wish list” items is to buy a larger car with a full set of air bags.)

Speaking of airbags, how do we know if those airbags have been installed properly and will work in case of a collision? The next time I see my mechanic, I am going to ask her to check them out.

My car was made by Dodge. Within two to three years after the car was purchased, the tires began blowing out — usually on a small two-lane highway. I eventually got all the tires replaced, and those tires are still in excellent condition, my mechanic told me. However, just to be sure, I am going to “pepper her with questions” about my tires. I am NOT an expert on cars. All I know is how to turn the car on and roll the windows up and down. But I DO regularly take my car in for maintenance since I want that car to keep running.

Well, few of us are bona fide auto mechanics. The mechanic I go to is excellent. Earlier in her life, she was a race car driver. Since then, she, her husband and son have run a successful auto repair shop. Based on her life experiences, I trust her judgment on such matters.

My point in telling you about my tires is that I realize that Dodge makes these cars as cheaply as possible. Obviously, they didn’t care if my tires blew out (which really pisses me off). That’s why I want my air bags also checked out.

Maybe some of you can suggest the kinds of cars we all should buy when we can. Sometimes, I wish I had gotten one of those old cars — they’re large but they’re easier to maintain since they don’t run on computers. The sole drawbacks are that they consume more gasoline and, best I know, none have airbags.

Well, with Obama as president, more and more states will probably legalize the use of marijuana and I predict that there will be little enforcement of the federal laws against the use of marijuana.