When will we see marijuana reform? 

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By Benjamin Mountain

What do you consider to be a drug? To most of us, the line of what is or isn’t a drug is pretty clear in our minds. Cocaine, heroine and opium are all drugs our parents (hopefully) told us to stay away from. But the reality is that we take drugs all of the time. For aches and pains, cold and flu, even when we’re simply tired, we take things that change the way we act and feel. Some of these can be very destructive and addictive. But one of the most controversial drugs in legislature today is making a fortunate comeback. Marijuana (colloquially known as weed, Mary Jane, pot and many more names) has been found to have numerous health benefits, especially for those with critical ailments. It’s been changed from illegal to non-criminal to downright legal in several states. Marijuana, still a schedule I drug, (the same category as heroine) is getting a second look.

A decade ago, only a handful of states were brave enough to pass laws decriminalizing marijuana or allowing small amounts of pot at a time. Alaska, Oregon and Washington removed some of the harsher penalties on marijuana as early as 1998 and they’ve only paved the way to the smoky present. Colorado is the first state to officially legalize weed, allowing for the growth, possession and use of cannabis as long as it’s not in public.

Yet we’ve already seen harsh outbreak against the recent legalization already, ranging from rallies of upset mothers to fake news reports fighting these drastic changes. The same day of the marijuana legalization, The Daily Current launched news coverage saying that a total of 37 people had died of a marijuana overdose. Here’s the best part: all bits of the report were found to have been completely false! The coverage contained fake doctors’ reports as well as fictional witnesses to the deaths.

The Daily Current stated, “Our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world …” There are certainly better ways to convey disapproval than provoking people with events that never happened.

When will we feel the effects of the sweeping legalization? Already, NY State has decriminalized the possession of less than 25g and the sale of the same amount is now only a class B misdemeanor, the same offense as a traffic violation.

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has recently put forward legislation that will grant some usage of marijuana for 20 hospitals in the state. This may be a baby step compared to states like Colorado and Washington that have had sweeping reforms in marijuana laws, but it is the right one toward the final step of legalizing marijuana, and I have a feeling when it finally is, it will be welcomed with open arms on campus.

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