It saddens me to hear someone of your obvious intelligence straining so hard to support a public policy that is so wrong with arguments that are so bogus. Many people have and do serve prison time for marijuana offenses. I am one who did. In the 1970s, it was still possible to get a life sentence in a state prison for a few joints. The idea of "gateway" drug is a red herring. If pot were not illegal, people would not be forced to buy it from criminals thus would not be introduced to other illegal drugs. The decreased cost of arresting and prosecuting nonviolent "offenders" plus the tax revenue from legalized sales would benefit society. But the overarching issue is individual liberty; that's what the Neocons can't seem to acknowledge. Sad.