The Want for Weed

Jon Ewing, Staff Writer

One of the most controversial topics today, among abortion and gun control, is whether or not getting high should be legal. While states such as Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana, the substance remains illegal in most states. Both people for and against legalization are speaking out.

Lori Prichard, an anchor and reporter for KSL 5 News Weekends, wrote an article stating that 24% of Utah’s High School Seniors admitted to smoking marijuana in 2011. Most people would view this as negative, thinking that marijuana is dangerous and unhealthy, but some think differently.

Bingham senior Lowell Lotulelei said “Legalizing marijuana would be good for the people that smoke it because they wouldn’t get into trouble, but it would be bad because more people will do it, like cigarettes.” Marijuana does have negative health effects, such as the inhaling of organic material into the lungs when smoked.

One easy way to get around inhaling the organic material is to bake the marijuana into cookies or brownies and ingest it instead. While baking marijuana prevents harm to the lungs, its use causes some loss of coordination and motor skills, and it is obviously not recommended that people drive while under the influence of marijuana because, just like alcohol it is illegal.

Dr. Lynne Eldridge MD told Business Magazine that the cancer risk from smoking most likely pales in comparison to cigarette smoking. However, due to marijuana’s illegal nature, it is difficult for scientists to find people willing to undergo the controlled studies and therefore get more concrete results.

Bingham junior Sandy Dinh said, “Marijuana is okay only for medical reasons.” According to Randy Astaiza from Business Insider, the health benefits of using marijuana include, but are not limited to: “Preventing blindness from glaucoma, controls epileptic seizures, stops cancer from spreading, decreases anxiety, slows progression of Alzheimer’s disease, eases pain of multiple sclerosis, lessens side-effects from treating Hepatitis C, treats inflammatory bowel disease, and relieves arthritis discomfort.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, there were approximately 42,000 alcohol related deaths in 2010 within the United States alone. Compared to legal substances such as alcohol and cigarettes, the statistics of marijuana deaths are significantly lower.

The CDC also stated that there are about 443,000 deaths annually, including deaths from secondhand smoke, due to cigarettes. Marijuana, however, is one of few substances that it is virtually impossible to overdose on. That does not mean that there are no marijuana-related deaths though, as there are some instances of drivers under the influence of marijuana getting into car collisions and accidents

“[Marijuana] should be legal,” Bingham junior Shayla Maxfield said. “If people want to do it, they’re going to find it no matter what.”

Whether one believes in the legalization of marijuana or not, it can cause death and health issues.