I've studied the brain quite a bit as an undergraduate ... But we got along fine without marijuana for millennia, and for most people it has no purpose other than providing yet another form of escape from their responsibilities. What exactly is the benefit of including pot in society? Why do we need it?
no, we didn't. on the contrary, people have been smoking it for millennia.
Cannabis has been used in many forms, for many reasons, for many millennia (not just smoking, or drug use), fact. Most likely even before written history. Somehow mankind as "limped" along just fine with this demon weed "marijuana." Cannabis was what it use to be called until the 1930s. Marijuana is what those "brown characters south of the border" called cannabis. Needing to demonize cannabis as much as possible they started calling it marijuana. Most people didn't know what marijuana was, and were more willing to crush this new threat to society. Your knowledge on cannabis, makes me question your knowledge on the brain, it at least shows some bias.
It could be argued that government making cannabis illegal, is more costly and dangerous to the public than re-legalizing it. DEA has not stopped the flow, or use of cannabis, or most illegal drugs to any real degree. Even though it's budget has exploded since it's creation in 1973. "In 1973 DEA had 1,470 Special Agents and a budget of less than $75 million. Today, the DEA has nearly 5,000 Special Agents and a budget of $2.02 billion." http://www.justice.gov/dea/about/history.shtml
The last year they have any info is 2008. 2008... Special Agents... 5,235, Budget... $2.4 BILLION, found on page 2 of the PDF, or page 161 of the document. http://www.justice.gov/dea/about/history/2003-2008.pdf
Do I think recreational use of "marijuana" will make the wold a better place? No.
At the same time I see it as no worse than Tobacco, Alcohol ,Caffeine usage. The government has not been able to show that cannabis usage is worse than Tobacco, or Alcohol usage in any studies they have conducted since the 1970s up to today. Nixons own commissioned study concluded marijuana is probably no worse than Tobacco, or Alcohol, before he created the DEA and included marijuana as part of "an all-out global war on the drug menace." The DEA has not made a major impact on the influx of most illegal drugs from it's inception, despite laws, budget, or manpower.
So... in effect we are living with how marijuana will effect people/society today. With the added "benefit" of the government being able to compound any problems you have with cannabis, not helping. Making Cannabis illegal only makes it more dangerous to society, and makes it easier for kids to buy. Some of the added dangers of illegality are who you're dealing with, where did it come from, and what are you buying? Not to mention what the government will do to your life and family if you are caught.
Usage of Cannabis certainly doesn't merit any of the governments mandated loss of rights up to imprisonment.
People should never be put in a cage over what amounts to a medical health issue.
Cannabis should be regulated more like Tobacco, or Alcohol, including letting people grow for personal use.