Blank: Too many citizens, especially in the African American and rural communities, have been harmed because they have a criminal record due to drug use. However, in the states where recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, the process has been rushed—criminal penalties have been removed without the necessary regulatory process to insure that usage is safe for the user as well as the general public. There are currently no uniform standards for measuring doses; setting limits for intoxicated driving or operation of boats or heavy machinery; or determining the “half life” for different methods of ingestion, including edibles. Additionally, research is incomplete for early use by adolescents, whose brains are still developing, and the effects of long term use in adults on motivation, memory, acquisition of new knowledge, impulse control, depression, and the onset of dementia. Until standards are agreed upon for dosages, methods for measuring intoxication levels are developed, and more research is done, decriminalization is a more responsible approach than legalization, to reduce the mass incarceration of vulnerable communities and remove the stigma of drug use. The ultimate goal of legalization, if that is the consensus, should be a staged process that only takes place after more of these safeguards are in place.