It's a debate that has raged on for ages, and seems to be gaining steam again lately, but I think it's high time (pun totally intended) to pull the trigger (or light the bong?) and make marijuana, weed, pot, hash, or whatever you want to call it, legal to possess and use.

Before I get into my reasons why, let me say that I have never in my life smoked weed or partaken in any illegal drug. My vices are limited to energy drinks, Marlboro Lights, and alcohol, the latter of which isn't a daily, or in some occasions, even weekly indulgence.

I have friends who have smoked, or currently do smoke pot, and I've been around it on several occasions. For a good portion of my life I've been totally against it. Let me clarify that. I'm not against people using it, what they do with their time in their home is their business as long as it doesn't adversely affect me or my family (last time I checked, there's no chance of someone's house exploding from smoking weed). Until recently, I've been opposed to me doing it. The main reason being it was the way I was raised. I, like most people I assume, was told by my parents growing up that it was against the law and not something you do because of what it can do to your brain and body. This directive applied to illegal narcotics in general, not just weed, but pot was (and at this point still is) an illegal narcotic and therefore fell under the umbrella.

Another reason for my aversion lies in a self-imposed fear that I may become addicted to it if I were to indulge every once in awhile, and frankly I don't need another vice. I also already have a penchant for over-analyzing and over-thinking the repercussions of nearly every action I take, so to use a substance known for causing heightened paranoia would probably result in a less-than-desirable trip for me. Every sound I heard would more than likely get me thinking the cops had shown up to take me to big boy jail. Before you know it, I'd be hiding in a closet somewhere to keep the fuzz from finding me, and that's no fun for anyone.

Then there's the cost. Those I know who smoke on a regular basis talk of spending around $125 for an ounce.  Color me sticker shocked! However, when you break it down, that's not as bad as it sounds. Allow me to try and explain.

Since I'm completely ignorant when it comes to the marijuana culture, a quick Google search of "how many joints can you make out of an ounce of weed" sent me to a message board where I learned there are 28 grams to an ounce so depending on how fat you're rolling your "J's", you can get anywhere between 28 and 56 joints (one ounce and a half ounce per joint, respectively). For arguments sake, let's say you smoke one joint per day. Again, depending on the size of the blunt (is that the right term?), in theory, you get anywhere between one to two months worth. That's just less than $4.50 per joint for a months worth, and just a little under $2.25 for two months. That's equivalent to, or even less than in some cases, a daily cup of coffee. Not gas station coffee, but restaurant or coffee shop quality coffee.

There are currently 17 states (roughly one-third of the country) that have legalized marijuana for medical use. Others have either passed legislation or at least are discussing passing legislation that would keep weed illegal, but decrease the punishment based on the amount possessed.

Indiana however is not either of these states. As a matter of fact, the Hoosier state hands out one of the more severe punishments for marijuana possession. Being busted with one ounce can bring up to a $5,000 fine and up to one year in prison. Total bummer dude.

Outside of the fact that being popped for marijuana possession results in, at the very least, a fine of a few hundred dollars, possible jail time, and a guaranteed buzz-kill, I think there are at least five good reasons why marijuana should be legal in the U.S. Let's (finally) get started, shall we? Smoke 'em if you got 'em.