Marijuana, Society, and the Law

John Gimenez, Marketing Editor

In the early 20th century, marijuana has been declared illegal by the Federal Government and then listed as a schedule one drug by the Nixon Administration in later part of the century. Placing it among hard drugs such as heroin, Cocaine, and meth. Since then, 21 states have declared the plant legal for medical use, 4 have decriminalized it, and 5 including the nation’s Capital, have declared it legal. Which has created a legal grey area where dispensaries and users are still subject to federal arrest but the Obama Administration has declared a laissez faire approach. No matter the position on the matter, one must admit that throughout pop culture the use of marijuana has been associated with stereotypes ranging from “potheads” to a nominal faction of society.

In the few states that have declared the plant legal for recreational use, they regulate and tax the plant like a cigarette with age limitations and a legal apparatus. However, in the state of Arizona the drug still remains available for medical use only. In fact according to Officer Quinn, when a teen is arrested for marijuana he/ she is subjected to hefty fines, arrest, school suspension, and a sobriety probation officer.

When Hamilton students were asked about marijuana the responses came to a common consensus. (The decision was made to keep the students names anonymous). “I think marijuana is not that big of an issue, I mean if it isn’t as harmful as cigarettes, legalize it.” According to another student, “In my social group, it’s seen as something you do and I’m not going to unfriend you if you use it.”

Whether you are on the pro or con side of the issue of marijuana, one must know the facts.