I would take a stoned worker over a drunk worker any day, i have operated high power lasers and an electron microscope stoned on rare occasion, both require your full attention and both were handled without incident. Although it's not something i would recommend to an infrequent smoker. But that's besides the point, you will always get those that will abuse a drug illegal or not.
If it's popularity does increase then it stands to reason the popularity of alcohol would decrease (the two more often than not, are not mixed) , i can't see how that's a bad thing...
As for experiencing life in all it's glory, a couple of months ago i took a trip to Scotland, hiked to the top of ben nevis, then smoked a spliff on the way back down.... it was fantastic, although i do enjoy chilling out in front of the tv it's not all us stoners do.