Updated: 10/22/2013 11:12 PM
Created: 10/22/2013 6:40 PM WHEC.com
By: Lynette Adams
It's a subject that most of you have an opinion on one way or the other. Should marijuana be legalized?
According to a brand new Gallup poll, for the first time ever a clear majority of Americans say yes. Specifically, 58-percent of Americans say yes to legalizing marijuana and 39-percent say no.
Tuesday night News10NBC asked people in Rochester if they think marijuana should be legalized.
“It depends on the circumstances, but I believe for medicinal purposes it should be legalized,” said Jaunita Reid, Gates resident.
“If they legalize it in diverse states of this country, then here in New York State, what's one more. There would be less problems out here on the street,” said Andrea Fairwell, Rochester resident.
One Rochester City Council member says legalizing the drug could stop the illegal drug market and curb violence.
News10NBC also talked with a counselor who thinks it's a dangerous drug.
Some marijuana advocates point to Colorado and Washington State as examples of what happens when marijuana becomes a legal a recreational drug, and that's what some say is changing attidtudes of Americans.
It's been about 12 months since those states approved the recreational use of the drug.
City Council member Adam McFadden says other drug policies have failed.
“I think we have enough history to know having it illegal has not worked for us and I think that's what driving those numbers,” said Adam McFadden.
These new poll numbers do not surprise McFadden. He says he thinks Americans are beginning to see what he has been saying for years now.
“There are a number of people who are functional addicts who look like you and who go to work everyday, but happen to purchase marijuana. They're self-medicating. We could use that as an opportunity to legalize it, make some revenue off of it and do some drug prevention education around that as well. We have not done that. Everything we've done has been punitive and it has not worked,” said McFadden.
McFadden may be on target. The Gallup poll shows more Americans than ever admit to using marijuana. But not everyone agrees legalizing the drug is the answer. Chris Taylor runs the Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse of Livingston County. News10NBC spoke with him by phone Tuesday night.
“I'm strongly opposed to legalizing of marijuana. Again, this is something that I encounter every day and I see the negative impacts on their relationships, their job performance, their school performance, their overall health,” said Taylor.
Taylor says while Colorado and Washington may be touting success in the year since marijuana became legal in both states, he says people don't talk enough about the dangers of this drug.
“Research on mental, emotional, physical and other problems, numerous studies do support that it is a dangerous drug,” said Taylor.
For those who say marijuana is dangerous, McFadden says it's no more dangerous than cigarettes, alcohol or gambling. In fact, he says those things could more dangerous with a government seal that says they are approved for sale.