Up in smoke: Arizona divided over legalization of marijuana

Hayden Cunningham and Kasey Cross


Kasey Cross- Photography Editor

First of all, marijuana, if used over the age of 25 is safe.

According to NBC News, in 2015, deaths caused by marijuana alone came to a whopping 0. Deaths caused by alcohol came to 88,000, and death by tobacco managed to get to 480,000 people. Yet those last two things have been legal for countless years? Why? Marijuana's capability of killing brain cells very well could be an argument. If only that were true.

Dr. Malik Burnett is a former surgeon and physician advocate. On the subject of this very well held myth, Dr. Burnett said, "In terms of marijuana and its effects on brain cells, or neurons, there is little evidence to suggest that any of the active ingredients in the marijuana plant administered at doses appropriate for human consumption have neurotoxic effects."

Once you reach the age of 25, which is about the time your brain fully develops, using marijuana in safe amounts really doesn't do that much damage. But maybe marijuana is a gateway drug? It leads to harder more damaging substances? It’s too bad this also isn't true.

U.S Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, “[I]ndividuals [start out] with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin. It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids —  it is true that if you tend to experiment with a lot of things in life, you may be inclined to experiment with drugs, as well. But it’s not like we’re seeing that marijuana as a specific gateway.”

That's just the issue with prescription drugs as well. There are so many drugs that have the ability to be abused, but they're in the market because of their ability to help people. Marijuana can help so many people just the same.

Right now medical marijuana is not available for people with autism, depression or anxiety. These are arguably the people who might need it most.

Different strains of marijuana can benefit patients in different ways, when you know exactly what you're getting from a dispensary. When you buy on the street, it's a shot in the dark what you'll get, with chances of getting laced product or not the right strain to help you with your problem. Making marijuana legal makes it safe for those who want and need it.

The taxation of the product as well would have a drastic positive effect on the public school system. Money from taxes goes right into benefitting our schools.

Medical officials have been saying that marijuana is completely safe for years, but Nixon, and the war on drugs criminalized the products to disrupt the communities of their political enemies.

Former domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper's writer, Dan Baum in April 2015, "You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities," Ehrlichman said. "We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

This old propaganda made it so your first time being caught with marijuana, you could be put away for 5-20 years. Nearly half of all drug arrests are people caught with marijuana. Medical officials and politicians know marijuana is safe. It's just a matter of when voters decide to finally be away with outdated myths and fallacies.


Hayden Cunningham- Webmaster

Pro-Marijuana advocates say alcohol Is more dangerous, and more people die from it than marijuana. Therefore, marijuana should be legal because it is “safer” than alcohol.

The problem with this is that alcohol is already implemented in our culture. It’s been part of most cultures for hundreds of years and this argument has already happened in the 1920s with prohibition. Marijuana is not yet a full part of our culture yet nor should we let it.

Should marijuana become part of the American culture, the effects would be devastating. Everything seen now will be worse: kids will be using it, more people will have car crashes from driving intoxicated, and more.

Plus the biggest disadvantage of all: it kills your brain cells and lowers IQ. Even using is once or twice a week causes brain abnormalities. Marijuana alone does not kill you, it’s what you are uncontrollably doing while you are high that does.

Some doctors say it doesn’t kill cells, but certain doctors will make any assumption trying to favor their personal opinion. Credited groups like Harvard and the U.S. National Library of Medicine have come to the same conclusion that it kills your brain cells and decreases memory efficiency.

The Journal of Alzheimer’s Diseases released a study as well showing that the brains of marijuana users have the lowest blood flow to the Hippocampus,which is the brain’s memory and learning center. This suggests they have a higher vulnerability to Alzheimer’s and are less likely to have proficient memory.

In Colorado where it was legalized, law enforcement’s focus on marijuana-related crimes has gone from 11% to about 65%. It was said that the tax on the product would go to schools. However, it really didn’t. The first 40 million dollars raised in excise taxes on marijuana were to go to school construction, and all money after that amount would go to public schools.

But since it has been legalized, only 27 million dollars has been collected. Not only that, but some districts are saying they have yet to receive that construction money and are asking the state where the money is.

The argument of legalizing marijuana is also whether or not we as a society will have moral values. Addiction comes from marijuana; people will lose their self control.

The drug users pushing for legalization want it to have fun. Using the argument that it helps with depression is just hiding behind their only viable argument rather than using more conventional methods.

In the same way our government makes murder illegal, the federal government will keep marijuana illegal: to protect people. It’s similar to teens wanting to go against what their parents tell them; Americans want to go against what the government says for them to do. They want to be cool. Those people need to grow up and act like adults.

Should it be legal, the government would need to spend money regulating it. How about the government not spend money on something for people’s pleasures and spend it on helping cure diseases and making better medicine?

If we start to legalize things for the simple pleasure of a group of people, we become a country that slowly loses their laws. And when that happens, the country collapses. Harder drugs are argued to be legalized, drug dealers will have a place in society rather than being arrested where they belong, and it continues to encourage the ideology that you can do whatever you want with no consequences. So where do we draw the line?