The war on legalization of marijuana: Which side are you on?

A pro-con about the advantages and disadvantages of the legalization of marijuana

Pro:

By Duncan Cicero

Freshman Music Therapy major

The legalization of marijuana has always been a hot topic. It may seem like a cliche, but I feel it is still a very relevant and an important issue to cover.

Although the debate has continued on over the years, the most recent conversation taking place is that, with more and more states legalizing marijuana, has it really proven itself to be more of a benefit to a person’s health than it is harmful?

An ongoing debate that has continued over the past few years: Whether marijuana should be legalized or not. With more and more states and countries legalizing the drug, the debate only escalates.

In January 2014, Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana. In 2018, a few more states including Michigan and California have followed in the same footsteps. Recently, Canada has became the first major government to federally legalize marijuana, and they also made plans to pardon citizens who have been jailed over illegal marijuana use. I believe that these are progressive steps in the right direction and are a long time overdue.

With this step in the right direction, I feel more places will benefit. Take, for example, the economy, it will greatly benefit from legal marijuana use, and with the governments regulating the gigantic marijuana industry, large amounts of profits can be made. It will also help in reducing the black market and reduce unsafe or contaminated strands of marijuana.

Some arguments can be made that say marijuana has unknown health effects and can be very harmful to the user. If those are true, I do not see how it is any different from cigarettes or alcohol. The same restrictions of alcohol can also be placed on weed, so it shouldn’t be a problem.  

Researchers are still not exactly sure what the harmful effects of marijuana are, but there should still be an age limit on who can legally use it in order to protect young people from possible harmful effects on their mind or lungs.

For example, in Canada, you have to be 19 or 21 to use it recreationally, depending on which province you are in. Some claim that marijuana can have negative effects on your memory and learning abilities, but there are very little studies, and research that have supported that statement.

Marijuana also has many benefits in a medical sense.

The substance can be used to help ease pain, control nausea during chemotherapy, control seizures and decrease stress and anxiety levels. Researchers are still trying to find out all of the negative effects of marijuana, but as stated, it is no different from the harm cigarettes cause, so weed should not be treated any differently.

There is also a major problem within the African-American community for people being disproportionately arrested for marijuana-related crimes. In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center, (SPLC), claimed that African-American people are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana charges than white people. That isn’t even the worst of it. In certain locations, the percentages are even higher. The legalization of marijuana might help reduce the growing problem of racial profiling.

Overall, I support the legalization of marijuana, and I believe that, in the near future, it will be legal nationwide. Marijuana has many health benefits that outweigh the negatives. Just because it makes some people uncomfortable doesn’t mean it should be outlawed.

Con:

By Mollee Ryan

Freshman Music Therapy major, Opinion editor

I come from a decent neighborhood.

Eastlake, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, sits about 30 minutes east of the city. For all 18 years of my life, I have lived in the same house, in the same city. For awhile, that was a blessing. But as you can imagine, it got mundane and stale.

Growing up, I loved Eastlake. I loved the unpredictable spring blooms, and the scorching summers when I ran around with my brother until the sun went down. I enjoyed the fall and swinging on the swingset for hours, or jumping on the trampoline until I couldn’t feel my legs anymore.

I even took pleasure in the long winters when the snow would get as high as my knees and my father would take us sledding in my driveway, for my mother was too afraid to let us go on an actual hill.

But that all changed, and something happened to Eastlake.

Around the year 2015, Eastlake started to take a decline. The city grew dull and grey, and less people started coming outside to have a friendly talk with their neighbors. Houses were being put up for sale faster than the blink of an eye, to no avail, eventually being foreclosed and knocked down. The fishing pier grew increasingly less populated in those sweet summer months, eventually leading to its closure and cessation. The atmosphere was dark and heavy, nothing like I had experienced for the first 15 years of my life. What happened?

Whether I was ignorant to the fact because I was a child, or the problem really did start to increase throughout the years, I don’t know. But, as I entered high school, the pungent miasma of marijuana became a standard. And when I thought it was just a silly thing that high school kids did to rebel against authority, that assumption quickly turned to consciousness.

I had been blessed to come from the wholesome household I did. Being homeschooled for six years before high school, I never had a run in with either drugs or alcohol, aside from my parents preaching to me to stay away from the substances.

I do not support the use of recreational marijuana. Yes, some people really can keep their marijuana usage at a minimum and use it for partying and having fun, but not everybody is the same way. I’ve seen too many people fall victim to the drug, first using it socially, but then developing a full- blown addiction to the herb. From there, people can use marijuana in a number of unhealthy ways. Some people use the drug as a coping method, staying high to mask unwanted feelings. Others use the drug out of pure boredom. Studies have shown that using marijuana regularly, not casually, can deplete memory, cause a fall in IQ points and lower test scores.  

However, I do support the prescribed medical use of marijuana. Although I don’t support the recreational use of marijuana, I support the medical use of it because for some people, it could be the only relief they have. For people with autoimmune and incurable diseases, using marijuana to help them in any kind of way should be acceptable. These people can’t do anything about the disease, and if there is no cure, how are they supposed to live their life to the fullest? Marijuana could definitely help suppress pain, even if only for a little while. But, this should be done in the safety of one’s home, safely prescribed by a doctor.

Marijuana should not be abused. Of course, it can be used for a good cause in a medical sense, but recreationally, it can tear a person apart academically, socially and mentally.

Although this an issue that has been debated for years, I feel it is still relevant to discuss because we are college students. College students are stigmatized to use marijuana more than anyone else. Whether it be true or not, it is the popular belief. Be careful with how you use marijuana. Be mindful not to abuse it.

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