Personally, I think marijuana should be decriminalized completely, but of the two options given in this opinion, I think receiving a ticket is a more offence appropriate corrective action. We don't need to fill our prisons with non-violent drug offenders. It is to no one's benefit to drain state resources housing and feeding them.
Marijuana is considered a gateway drug. However it has been proven to have caused exponentially fewer fatalities. I'm not sure if marijuana should be legal or not. Certainly medical marijuana should be as it has helped numerous cancer patients, for example. Honestly if alcohol is legal, marijuana should be too. It's important to keep an open mind. Just because something is legal, or not, doesn't mean that it has to affect your life. Like most controversies in America today, people just need to let others live their lives, even if they don't think it's right. I am no one to stop someone else from living the life that they choose to live, no one is.
Prohibition has shown to fail time and time again. Putting people in jail for a crime that doesn't hurt anyone except the user seems to be counterproductive. Jail-able offenses should be limited to crimes that victimize others. Now, if your caught smoking marijuana you should be given a fine based on the rules of the state that outlaws it. There should be no federal based Prohibition but should be left up to the states to make the choice.
If the fines are hefty enough people will reduce how much they do it and will continue to be extremely careful about it. If the fines go unpaid individuals could lose their privileges to drive and such.
I do not think it is fair to punish a harmless Marijuana offender but let Alcoholics roam free. You all know Marijuana is one of the safest substances, but it is also America's number one cash crop. If the logic of the other side is, if you do time in jail and lose student loans along with a fine you will keep doing it, but if you are fined where it is a little costly then you will stop; then we know that's flawed. I hate prohibition but Marijuana is safe and could better the economy, so I would legalize and let the drug cartels hurt.