Gonna jump in here re: the weed thing.
I live in Vancouver BC - where some of the best weed in the world comes from. Here, it's been de-criminalized - which means that while it still isn't precisely legal, you won't get thrown in the clink for smoking it in the street, or for possession as long as you aren't carrying a Hefty bag around with you. If you run a grow op - the cops will take you down. Eventually. Maybe. I guess the thing is, the government here sees pot for what it really is - a mood altering substance that is less harmful both in the long and short term than alcohol is. It's not the devil, it's not cocaine or heroin, but it isn't oregano either. It's a drug, just not really that bad is all.
I have heard of people going to prison in the states for possession of a personal sized amount... to me that's just lunacy and a waste of taxpayers money.