by Jessi H '11

Would You Like Some Marijuana With Those Fries?

Most if not all of us have heard the rumors: marijuana may become legal. Some kids joke about drugs, some kids do them, but it is a topic of conversation for everyone. Like most issues some people feel strongly against making it legal and some are crossing their fingers that it will. The best way to make an opinion is to know what you are talking about first.

Marijuana became il­legal for the first time in 1915 because of groups: Mexicans and Mormons. With this new group of Mexican-Americans and Mormons bringing it back with them from Mexico, whose church wanted no part of it and banned the drug. Many states followed that example. The East made marijuana illegal for its own reasons. They saw the drug being used by minorities (African-Americans), who they did not like. A newspa­per from 1934 said “Mari­huana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.” Fortunately, this is not the issue any­more.

Now people have other reasons for why it should remain illegal. They say that smoking will make you less aware of your surround­ings and lose your better judgment. They also say that making it legal will just mean there will be easier access to it for kids. Some of these people argue that now there will not only be drunk drivers but high driv­ers. Some people think that smoking kills brain cells.

There are some problems with their arguments. It is true that you will be less aware and probably not be able to make the best deci­sions. But you know what else has that affect? Alcohol, and that is perfectly legal. The problem with their next point is that kids are going to smoke it whether it is legal or not. They manage to get their hands on it now in shady sometimes dangerous ways. Making it legal would only make it more safely accessible. It is natural to worry about high drivers because that endangers everyone’s life not just the smoker. But the most we can do is make a law against that and while laws do not al­ways stop drunk drivers they help. As for the last point, yes they are right, it is bad for your health. But it does not kill brain cells and most affects it has on the brain will wear off very quickly. Cigarettes are bad for you too, but you don’t see a law against smoking that.

People argue that it should be legal because it is not addictive like so many other drugs and cigarettes. Another point they make is that it is not bad for you; it is made from a plant, so you are putting natural ingredi­ents in your body.

However, there are some problems with their argu­ments too. The first point is true; there are no ingredients in marijuana to make you addicted. However, smoking it is bad for you. “The short-term effects of marijuana can include problems with memory and learning; dis­torted perception; difficulty in thinking and problem solving; loss of coordina­tion; and increased heart rate,” says the National In­stitute on Drug Abuse. Other information they shared is that your risk of heart rate quadruples in the first of hour of smoking. Another serious consequence was found from “a study com­paring 173 cancer patients and 176 healthy individu­als produced evidence that marijuana smoking doubled or tripled the risk of these cancers (head and neck).”

Whether you believe people should be allowed to smoke marijuana or you believe it should remain illegal, it is important to know the facts so that you can have an informed opinion.


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