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Cannabis Legalization Could Mean More Safety
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Cannabis Legalization Means More Safety for Consumers

January 21, 2020 | PBAT MAGAZINE

By Samantha Avila, Muen Cai, Jia Yi Liew & Nicolle Veras

"My partner wanted to grow Cannabis and we tried a little experiment in our land. We saw a possibility in the market and an opportunity since its being used recreational. Cannabis has a lot of positive in regards to health, relaxing anxiety, and there are multiple things that cure and help, I do not find it smoking it wrong at all, or any negative towards it. I definitely think that marijuana should be legal in all states, it gives opportunity to work farms, and it should be available to transport it to other states that do not have it, and it should be treated as a regular item,” said a Pharmacist from Cuba, as she talks about how she does not see any negative side for Cannabis use in the medical and recreational field.


Oregon, Where Cannabis is Produced & Sold



Still, even though cannabis or marijuana provides benefits for those suffering from various illnesses, it is still considered bad or illegal to consume for recreation. Many people feel that cannabis can be harmful in several ways, if is not consumed wisely. Teens are predominantly the targets of abusing this drug, and can become dependent on cannabis, which can affect their school work, and life outside of school. Therefore although there are compelling reasons to believe that Cannabis should be legal, but there should be conditions or restrictions on its sale and use to protect young people.


Marijuana Plant Dried and Fresh



Science of Marijuana


Marijuana makes reference to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis plant. The plant contains Tetrahydrocannabidol (THC) which is the psychoactive compound found on cannabis, is the part that makes people “high”, and makes people feel a sense of delight. On the other side, “CBD” ( Cannabinol)  is the most medically valuable form of cannabis. Unlike THC, this compound is non-psychoactive, and it is totally harmless. And because it is non-toxic, it is used as oils to aid fight diseases, such as chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, etc. 

Opposition to Marijuana

The Surgeon General argued the claim that marijuana “primes the brain” for “the addiction to other substances.” In fact, as the US National Institute on Drug Abuse acknowledges, “The majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other 'harder' substances.” Michele Leonhart, is an American career law enforcement officer and the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. She stated in the Congress in 2012. “All illegal drugs are bad for people,” . Her testimony visualizes the federal law policies, which are the ones that are in charge of reviewing the laws to see if they can be in the constitution, these federal law policies have the idea that cannabis is far less harmful to human health than most other drugs, and is less dangerous than the high addictive but legal substances such  as ‘alcohol’ and ‘tobacco’. And there is little evidence that cannabis can lead to a fatal overdose. 


Percentages of Teen Drug Abuse by Drug Type

Marijuana Legislation

The legalization of marijuana have been changing over time, since 1937, when the first Marijuana Tax Act was stated by President Franklin D.Roosevelt. In 1937, The Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner, “Harry Anslinger”, took on the case of making marijuana illegal. The reasoning was that he thought how people could become addicts, and then they will move from one drug, like heroin, to others, just like marijuana, in search of a legal and accessible high. 


Marijuana Timeline


Marijuana Laws Today


The laws controlling marijuana in the U.S. is composed of different federal and state laws. Under the U.S. law known as the Controlled Substances Act, Cannabis is a “Schedule I controlled substance”, which on this category there are drugs with high potential for lack, abuse and any medical value. Anyone that is marketing, growing, or distributing marijuana is likely to be violating several federal laws. Besides, even if you are not directly involved with the Marijuana industry, you can get into problems with the Controlled Substances Act, because if you run a business or provide services to a business that is under state Marijuana laws, you may be violating a federal law. So if you run a service and have a client that operates a dispensary, you may be profiting from illegal drug trafficking. 

However, many states have recently passed laws legalizing marijuana use. Generally speaking, the legalization of Marijuana has been a huge argument in recent years. In July 2019, Washington, D.C., and other 11 states legalized the use and possession of recreational Marijuana. First, its legalization was mainly focused for the recreational area. 

In regards to New York State, the "New York Marijuana Law" has been a huge issue lately. New York has not legalized Marijuana yet, and there are fines for being caught with less than an ounce of Cannabis. Fines up to a $50 if possessing less than one ounce. And even up to a $200 fine if possessing between one and two ounces. If a person is caught with marijuana in a public space, it can be sentenced for even three months of prison, with a fine of $150 if the person possesses less than 25 grams, and up to $500 for more than 25 grams.


National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. 2019



Support for Marijuana as a Medicine


Despite the failure of the passage of the NY Law to legalize marijuana this year, there is still widespread support for it or similar regulations. Cannabis has been used for medical purposes to treat illnesses such as Asthma, Epilepsy, Seizures, Chronic Pain, Alzheimer, within others. The New York’s Compassionate Care Act went into effect in January 2016. The CEO of Cannabis Doctors of New York Dr. Kenneth Weinberg, said “I’ve been at the forefront of treatment using cannabis and have seen the life-changing results its thoughtful and judicious use can provide. Prescription marijuana medication has helped my patients safely cope with a variety of serious ailments such as cancer, AIDS, chronic pain, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. However our state’s marijuana policy is about to be quickly surpassed by the policies of our neighbors to the east, west, and north.” 


Dr. Weinberg has seen how Cannabis has been a great impact for his patient’s diseases treatment. And how Mostly all NYC states are legalizing Cannabis, either for medicine, or for recreation, except for the United States. An example of cannabis used for medical purposes is "Billy Caldwell", a patient with severe epilepsy, and there have been many news reports and online videos that prove cannabis oil can prove effective treatment of epilepsy, and cannabis oil can effectively reduce seizures. Charlotte, the mother of Billy Caldwell, was worried about her son's situation and went to Canada to buy cannabis oil to treat her son's epilepsy. However, she was detained and questioned while passing customs. But Billy Caldwell's condition worsened and was life-threatening, and he was taken to hospital a few days later. This prompted the government to grant him special permission to use drugs such as cannabis oil.


Roger - Medical Marijuana User

We have interviewed a 76 year old man who lives in Nevada, about how he uses medical cannabis. He had an old injury on his lower back so he needed to use CBD, a substance found in marijuana. He used CBD (Cannabidols) for three months, in oil style, by dropping it to the mouth and under the tongue because it can direct go to blood. But sometimes, CBD could not help to stop his pain from his lower back because pain was not all the time. This is due because Nevada is a state that legalized marijunaa, so he just needed to go to a store that he could buy marijuana without prescription. He didn’t feel any addiction, it did not affect his feelings, emotions or actions. Whenever he used it, like one day or twice a day, it was a dose of only 5 milliliters. The type of CBD he used, was a soft doses, and because his pain has increased, he will buy a stronger one. 


FIHS Survey



While many people support legalization of marijuana, one group that doesn’t is teenagers. We have take the survey on Flushing International High School for 11th grade and 12th grade students. This survey is about marijuana should be legal or not. Totally that have 53 responses. We put the survey on each class of google classroom to let the students answer it. 

Marijuana should be legal, but with conditions, so teenagers will not be allowed or not easy to buy it. As we know, cannabis plays a big role in teenagers. With the development of society, there are many ways that teenagers can buy drugs. So, we should strict conditions for teenagers who want to buy it. Condition that we have to strict teenagers are when they buy the marijuana it should show their ID. United States 
Drug Enforcement Administration should investigate people who are selling the marijuana or people who have the farm for plant marijuana. 

Of the respondents 58.5% of students say marijuana should be illegal. Students also know marijuana is bad for our health. A student who is 12th grade have said, “I think Marijuana should be illegal to smoke, since I have seen in so many articles how this weed affects our brain, and even our body, and it can become addictive, and little by little, people will get stuck on buying marijuana, then they will forget about everything else, just like school responsibilities, or at home. But I think it should be legal for medical purposes because anyways you are required to do some steps to get an identification to get marijuana for medical purposes, and you need to have a specific disease to apply for that identification. So, as long as it is prescribed by the doctor, and you follow all the instructions, I think it will be just fine.”  

Teenagers have a basic idea that marijuana is bad for their health, according to what they have already heard or read. But it still have some part of teenagers don’t know the severity of marijuana. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, marijuana can affect our brain, heart, lung, mental etc.


NYC Survey

NYC Survey Results

Also, we have taken another survey outside New York University. We has asked 11 people. All of them think should legalize marijuana because many people think marijuana is not the most harmful. In fact, when asked to compare, 63.6% of investigators are saying alcohol is more harmful than marijuana and 36.4% of investigators say tobacco is harmful. 


Findings of the Investigation

It has been argued that if Cannabis is legal for recreational and medical purpose, it will make the drug safer to get and consume. We believe that as marijuana is a drug, teenagers should be protected mostly. Cannabis should be legal but with conditions. Even though marijuana have provide a lot of benefits on medical but still known as bad for recreational. Also, for each drug, teenagers are one of the groups that get effect. It can affect their school work, and life outside of school, if it is serious it might affect their life. So, Drug Enforcement Administration or US government should legal marijuana with condition. They should rigorous investigation every places that sell marijuana, to make sure they are prescription.

Also, it should be illegal to teenagers who are below 21 years old, because they are not adults yet, and they are more likely to want to get the Cannabis, since they feel stressed out because of school, or they are curious or they are persuaded by other classmates that try it. They also get disconnected from school, and tend to change their behavior. Another reason is that Cannabis use should be monitored by the government, which places can sell it, and which people can have permission to plant it and use it for merchandise.

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