Is marijuana a societal problem or a recreational cure?

The sun begins to sleep, the campus becomes home to silent wind, human life is no where to be found, until music blasts through the speakers, the room fills with smoke, and eyes roll back as a Morgan State University student takes a puff of marijuana to eradicate horrors of a stressful week.

For this student, Chris Williams (a pseudonym because he did not want his name publicized), smoking is a way of relaxing. He is not alone. For many teenagers and college students smoking is like eating. It is an everyday habit and a necessity in some cases. However, for Williams smoking marijuana is not a daily activity, “it just makes things interesting and life would probably be boring without it.”

According to Williams there are other ways to feel high such as playing sports and listening to music, yet he would rather smoke. “You’re not putting chemicals in your body, you’re putting a plant in your body,” Williams insists.

Many times illegal drugs have been laced with a heavier drug such as heroin, PCP, and cleaning fluids. This hooks the client and keeps money in the drug dealer’s pocket. Williams, aware of this possibility, dismissed it as unlikely. “You have to trust the right people,” he says, certain he had protected himself. Before he began purchasing from the preferred dealer, he made it a priority to build a relationship with the man. This ensures purity in the drug, he said.

Not all drug users come out on top. Many people have encountered laced marijuana. “Many years ago my uncle consumed a heroin-laced drug and he has never been the same since,” said Morgan State University Senior Tasha Lockett. After consuming large doses of heavy drugs some people have suffered heart attack, stroke, and death. Some students argue that the laced drugs can be easily avoided while others say they cannot. It is hard to tell when illegal drug mishaps occur because they usually fly under the radar. Being illegal, they are not properly documented.

Students rely on a good relationship with their dealers—and a wing and a prayer. While many Americans pray over their food to prevent sickness post consumption—roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—it’s not a foolproof system.

“It’s stupid to pray over weed,” says Williams. Weed is a substance absorbed through the body and if laced could have a detrimental effect on any human being. However, Williams would rather trust in the drug dealer, hoping that the weed has not been tampered with.

The legalization of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use has been a national debate for years. Students at Morgan are equally divided on the topic.

Many students state it will harm society, however Williams believes that “it would cut down on crimes” usually committed throughout major cities in the nation.

By Ashlee Banks

Special to the Spokesman 

However, Lockett believes that marijuana should not be legalized because “crime rates will heighten, GPA’s at Historically Black Institutions will decrease, and young children will fall victim to the horrible effects of marijuana and the life that attracts it.”

One expert weighed in on the impact for college students. Richard Posner, a federal judge spoke to students at Elmhurst College in Illinois last month.

“I don’t think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have,” he told students. “I think it’s really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana, I can’t see any difference between that and cigarettes.” He received a whirlwind applause from the Elmhurst College audience according to the Huffington Post.

The use of marijuana is more prevalent in predominantly white universities than in traditionally black universities. Some speculate this is the case because it is documented on white institutions and not documented on black institutions. HBCU’s may not find it necessary to document every drug related issue to avoid public scrutiny. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health  “white students were more likely to report drug use and abuse than African American students prior to coming to college and during college.”

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