Legalizing Cannabis

In recent years, the idea of legalizing marijuana has motivated the senate to vote on bills. Everyone has an opinion on it—you’re either for legalization or you’re against it. John T. Broderick Jr. wrote an article on why he thinks it is not a time to legalize marijuana. I respectfully disagree.

Opposite sides

Broderick Jr. states that he helps lead a statewide conversation about adolescent mental health and he’s concerned with the idea of teaching people that mental health is common yet treatable, but then there’s the commercializing of marijuana in the background.  Something he says is known to increase the likelihood of psychotic incidents and it has detrimental effects on the developing brain. I don’t think for a second that the use of marijuana alone would cause someone to have a psychotic episode. If they were to, there’s obviously something else that contributes to the underlying issue. As for “detrimental” effects on the developing brain, there’s been no definitive research that says “yes, marijuana affects adolescents developing brain”—there’s only been ideas linked. Even then, the effects of marijuana including memory problems, slow coordination and reaction time and possible hallucinations are only short term. I feel as if “long-term” effects are issues in a person’s environment—not from the drug itself.

For legalization

I’ve traveled to Colorado the last two years for a road trip, and many people there admitted that they were taught about the effects of drugs on the body, like marijuana for example, and still chose to smoke. It’s not as if the conversations about marijuana to the youth are going unnoticed. Broderick Jr. said himself he thinks that “decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana so that young people won’t have a criminal record and legalizing marijuana for medical use to relieve suffering make sense.” Many people use marijuana for its medicinal properties. If we put that into context, there should be no reason why recreational marijuana can’t be legalized. Marijuana has known medical uses—cigarettes, for example, have no positive qualities and yet the youth are still peer pressured into smoking.

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