Students take part in the marijuana legalization debate


John Wilhelm

Junior Eva Zaydman (right) and freshman Drew O’Hern (left) discuss legalization of marijuana. “I think that marijuana should be legalized, but regulated,” Zaydman said.

The legalization of marijuana is an understandably debated topic, with convincing arguments for and against legalization. Marijuana’s parallels to other already legal substances have lead many to say that it might as well be legalized, but the topic is tied to a number of issues that makes it difficult to weigh simply the “good” and the “bad” of the situation. “I think the most compelling argument for legalization is that marijuana doesn’t carry almost any of the same harms as other recreational substances that it’s equated with,” senior Bilal Askari said. “There are moral and ethical aspects against it, though, and it’s another substance that is directly addicting.”

“When we already have legal addicting substances—we’ve legalized alcohol and tobacco—you can’t say ‘it’s addicting, so we shouldn’t legalize it,’” junior Ian Sussna said. “If you legalized it, you could end up putting a lot of money into the economy through taxes, and it takes the money out of the hands of cartels and dealers.”

“I think it should be illegal, except for a few areas with medical purposes,” freshman Drew O’Hern said. “Marijuana can do a lot of bad things to people, it’s inappropriate for people to use it when it can help someone else recover from injuries.” The issue becomes more complex when taking into account marijuana usage in a motor vehicle, and the regulations surrounding that, as well.

Junior Eva Zaydman put forth a differing key factor. “Although marijuana is less toxic than alcohol is, it damages frontal lobe development, which affects your decision-making, which is especially important in teenagers.” Since frontal lobe development ends around the age of 25, Zaydman said that legalization for adults over 25 would be acceptable. “I think that marijuana should be legalized, but regulated,” Zaydman said.

Read Columnist Nick Cohen’s opinion on marijuana legalization here.