Commentary: No need for legalized marijuana

For my brother, I'm sure it started out as a social activity, something fun and exciting to do with his buddies. He was a teenager when he began smoking pot, and I remember the pungent odor, seeing marijuana cigarettes rolled tightly in white paper and the paraphernalia in his room.

I was a child then, so I didn't think much of what was happening. But I recall that my parents were frustrated and angry about his new-found habit.

They had good reason to be.

Pot was his first drug of choice, but my brother eventually graduated to harder stuff, finally settling on crack cocaine, a drug that would take him and our family through years of pain, disappointment and despair.

I tell this story because it looks like California — where marijuana use has become increasingly mainstream — may become the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

I question whether this is the right move.

I am familiar with what the proponents of legalizing marijuana for recreational use have to say. They believe that legalization would reduce marijuana-related crimes and could generate additional tax revenues, and stress that pot is no more harmful than smoking a cigarette or drinking alcohol.

To read the complete column, visit www.sanluisobispo.com.