CF Questions States’ Marijuana Changes

Weed. Pot. Grass. Hash. Maryjane. Gangster. So many names, one highly controversial issue for our nation: marijuana and its legalization.

Two states — Colorado and Washington — have already legalized this drug and other states are trying their best to follow suit. However, there are many people who do not want this drug legalized for religious and health reasons.

School nurse Janet Williams said it can be dangerous, especially when used by adolescents. “Marijuana is a hallucinogen, which means that people see things differently than things really are. It can be known for changing developing brains, and if a brain is still growing like teenagers’, then it can completely change their brain,”  Williams said.

School counselor Josh Carnelley agreed with Williams. “If marijuana is legalized, there will be a bunch of people in an altered state of mind, and a certain number of people will be stoned,” Carnelley said.

However, just as marijuana is known for its health problems, there are some health and medical benefits that can come along with it. “There do seem to be some medical benefits for people in chronic pain,” Williams said.

The National Cancer Institute agrees that there are some medical benefits to using marijuana. “The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief and improved sleep,” the National Cancer Institute said on its website.

Cannabis is just another term for marijuana, but some people say society would change for the worse should marijuana become legalized. “The biggest danger is that people think that if it’s legal, it doesn’t have a negative impact, and it minimizes the serious impact that marijuana does have. People become casual with things that are legal, and they think it’s safe because it is legal,” Williams said.

Though there may be bad changes to society, there may also be some advantages to relaxing the current restrictions. “There would be a lot less people in jail. Also, the government would tax marijuana and maybe put it up to some type of good use,” Carnelley said.

There are also some political advantages. “It reinforces constitutional rights for freedom of choice, but there’s not a whole lot of upsides to this,” American government teacher Robert Schmidt said.

Marijuana is so controversial because there are advantages and disadvantages to it. “From a school perspective, marijuana should not be legalized. It’s not an exactly easy subject to talk about. I mean, you have resources preventing drug usage, selling drugs and the distribution of drugs. It’s not easy to discuss,” Carnelley said.

According to some, not only is it uneasy to discuss, but it also can ruin the ties that hold our communities together. “There’s a certain thing called the fabric of society, and it can be damaged by something like this. There should be very strong restrictions and guidelines,” Schmidt said.

Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, but what many want to know is if marijuana will become a federal law. “There probably won’t be a federal law that legalizes marijuana. Then you have to go into the states’ rights, and that’s probably the biggest fights states have to go through,” Schmidt said.

Some people claim that if marijuana becomes legalized in more states, then other drugs will as well. “There’s a possibility that it could open the door for examining other drugs, which would be a definite negative. I remember distinctly from high school, there was a poster contest and a student had done a poster with a door that said, ‘Pot opens the door,’” Schmidt said.

All these unanswered questions will be put to the test as the new laws for marijuana are implemented around the country. Washington’s new law was implemented last week.

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