(Photo by Paige Huddleston)

America’s hazy issue

Students project their opinions over the state and national regulations on popular drug

March 3, 2015

Twenty-three states have legalized medical marijuana, and four allow smoking for recreational purposes. In fact, even Texas is beginning to legalize cannabinoids for some patients with a highly diluted medicine that can be prescribed to those with extreme epilepsy. Thirty eight percent of Americans have admitted to trying marijuana, and that doesn’t begin to account for minors and others that smoke this increasingly popular drug.

“People who smoke marijuana are so stupid,” senior Mike Howe* said. “Really, what are they thinking? It’s completely pointless, and they’re going to end up as addicts in jail.”

Most people are aware of the fact that marijuana takes people to their “happy place,” but not everyone thinks it’s a good thing.

“I’ve never smoked weed because it would affect my reputation and myself negatively,” freshman Stacy Foster* said. “I feel like I can gain the happiness that I would get from being high in something much more positive and uplifting to me.”

Even in states like Colorado and Washington, recreational weed is only legal for those 18 and older. Most high school students are still minors, so the thrill would still remain even if Texas allowed the use of marijuana legally.

“If marijuana was legalized, it would not be a big deal,” sophomore Kathleen Baker* said. “Most of the reason that kids and adults do it in the first place is because it’s illegal. They like the fact that they’re doing something against the law. If weed was as common as alcohol or tobacco, people would be more relaxed about the whole idea.”

Not everyone wants to follow the crowd and smoke with their friends and classmates. For many, using marijuana is still somewhat of a taboo, and some find the idea unappealing in general.

“I think weed has a negative effect on students because at first it is something they do to fit in,” Foster said. “What has been cool becomes a bad habit, which can turn into bad decisions further down the road.”

Some people swear by it and say they love smoking weed, and some swear they’ll never even look at a joint. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s illegal in this state, and that most people in high school are under 18 – which means that they would not be able to smoke even in states that allowed it.

Smoking marijuana is an incredible risk, but hundreds do it anyway. Perhaps, to those who smoke it, the benefits are worth the risk. However, actions taken now may result in future consequences.

“It definitely puts a bad image on people, because you think, ‘Oh, well they smoke pot,’” Foster said. “And then, like with any addiction, you can lose your family, friends, and things you really care about.”

*Names have been changed for the purpose of confidentiality.

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