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Genna Apfel

Marijuana, also known as cannibis, is the most widely used illicit substance in the world, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Marijuana consists of flowers, leaves, and stalks of mature pistillate female plants. It is used as a psychoactive drug, and also for medical purposes, but students may also abuse this substance to get high from the chemical compound called THC.

According to a survey of students in 8th to 12th grades that was performed in 2009 by NIDA, 16.7 million Americans aged 12 and over were using marijuana once a month. These numbers have been proven to only increase throughout the years.

The questions now to ask are, “Should marijuana be legalized in New York and should it be used for appropriate health purposes?” This has become a controversial subject throughout the years. In fact, according to, the following states have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana. These include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. In addition, each state has a possession limit, meaning a person in that state is only able to have a certain amount of usable ounces. For example, California allows eight ounces, which is 18 plants. Interestingly enough, 8 of the 10 states that legalized marijuana by 2006 have seen a decrease in teen use from 1999-2006, according to

Most people can readily agree that as you get older, you do and try things, when you know you shouldn’t be doing them in the first place. This is very true on the subject of marijuana. Due to the fact that it is not legalized in New York, this influences more teens to try this substance because the fact that it is “illegal” persuades them to rebel. This is one of the reasons why students and/or teens smoke marijuana. It becomes fun and exciting when they do something they know they shouldn’t be doing

And of course, there are always pros and cons to anything in life. In this example, marijuana poses some positive effects. Marijuana may be used for medical purposes to relieve pain, control nausea, stimulate appetite, and decrease ocular pressure, according to NIDA.  It has been found to cure ailments such as nausea from chemotherapy, lower eye pressure in patients with glaucoma, and relieve symptoms or help treat multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, HIV, migraines, seizures, insomnia, depression, and anorexia, according to Medical Marijuana cure.  However, NIDA also reports that marijuana can cause adverse effects such as hallucinations, disorientations, and sometimes feelings of anxiety. In a study conducted in 2007 by comparing drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, heroin, caffeine and marijuana, marijuana scored the lowest in terms of withdrawal, tolerance, reinforcement, and dependence.

In a New York Times article on June 27, 2011, it was reported that a woman named Terry Nelson from Texas, gave another reason for the legalization of marijuana. According to the article, Nelson said that cartel members make 60% of their profit from selling illegal marijuana. Legalizing it will cause the cartel business to not make as much money, which may help will end the cycle and bring the cartel leaders to justice.

A Post senior Business Management major, who chooses not to have her name mentioned said, “I don’t think marijuana should be legalized. I have come to my dorm building numerous times with my parents and they have smelled marijuana. This is not only embarrassing, but legalizing it would cause students to take advantage of this.”

Jazlyn Beltre, junior Journalism major, said, “Marijuana should actually be legalized in New York and other places too. Less people would be smoking marijuana if it were legal because it would take out the fun of doing something that is forbidden. I personally think from experience that drinking is more dangerous than marijuana, which is something that is natural. The THC comes from the plant and from the earth. Alcohol can lead to liver failure or to drinking and driving.” Beltre added, “First of all, some parents smoke marijuana when they are wrong (to do so) and tell their children not to.  The media compares marijuana to cocaine, dope, and crack. Meanwhile, they are all manmade and THC gets you high. The long-term effects of marijuana are not as dangerous. Any type of drug can be abused, but marijuana would be a middle point, between sobriety and complete intoxication. Even though it can be addictive, so are Tylenol, Nyquil, and pills sold over the counter. I don’t think people should abuse it, but it should be available for the people who need it medically.”

Bryan Smith, Assistant Director of Admissions said, “I think that younger people who engage in that type of behavior do so because they see it as a social norm amongst their peers. In the long run, in most cases, I believe it has negative consequences in terms of an individual’s health, academics, and over all well-being.”

The problem with marijuana today is people need to realize it can lead to misuse and abuse. Legalizing marijuana may also trigger pressure to experiment with other drugs. People are thrill seekers. Anything you put in your body can be harmful, whether it is a drug or even an unhealthy food. However, it all comes down to our society wanting to do something that’s prohibited or trying something to “fit in.” It seems the debate over legalizing marijuana in New York is causing more problems than it solves.

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