Saturday, October 13, 2018

What Will Be the Consequences of Legalized Marijuana for College Students?

By Keairra Lee, Contributing Writer

With New Jersey to soon legalize the use of marijuana, the student body of all New Jersey colleges and universities will be affected by the new law. Like alcohol, many students who are over the age of 21 are legally allowed to consume it, however alcohol has and will always be a top concern for students, no matter their age. 

While alcohol is a legal substance, having seminars to explain the impact alcohol can have on a students academic learning level as well as the importance of not drinking and driving, or not having much to drink, to make a student impaired of their abilities to be alert, are all things that are considered when talking about the impact alcohol can have on a student. 

Marijuana, however has similarities in regards to the impact it can have on a student. While New Jersey is in the process of legalizing marijuana, the state must acknowledge that they have many problems on their hands that may occur with the new law once it is enforced. For example, will it become a distraction? Will students begin to sell it on campus grounds? Will it make students feel less of the need to go to class if they can choose to smoke marijuana legally all day? Will it affect the academic learning of students, or will it make them even more focused on their subjects, being that marijuana has a well known fact that many people who use this drug are more aware of their surroundings? 

Another question is, will students respect the campus, faculty, and their classmates/peers who don’t wish to play a part in the legalization of smoking marijuana? All these questions, and more, come to mind when talking about eventually legalizing this drug. 

When asked if she thinks legalizing marijuana will be a distraction on students and their academics, Stockton University student Soukeyna Wade said “No, simply because students have been smoking regardless, so it depends on the student.” When asked if she thinks athletes should be drug tested or if they should be allowed to use marijuana, she said “They should be tested. Due to the fact that athletes can be using other drugs such as steroids.” 

When Wade was asked about legalizing marijuana in general, she replied “I strongly agree with the legalization of recreational marijuana, due to the fact that it can have beneficial factors, such as temporarily curing Parkinson's and Tourette's.” 

While many people like Wade believe that legalizing marijuana will have a positive impact, others believe that this law can have a negative impact on students because it is still a drug. Many students may share Wade’s opinion on marijuana being used to cure certain conditions; however, what about the many students who will find this drug more accessible?  These are less positive circumstances than using it as a medicine.  It is connected in studies to early use and addiction.

When we think about marijuana being only given to people who may need it for a medicine, we then have to think about people who use prescribed pills and other legal pain medications. Prescription opioids are given to patients by doctors and pharmacists, who trust that the patient is using it to help make them become better or to help relieve pain. The same patients who are provided this painkiller are then using it for themselves to either get a high, or selling it to others who weren’t prescribed it. 

Whatever the case may be, the state of New Jersey has its hands full when it comes to the consequences of this substance also known as marijuana.

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