Students respond to California’s “dope” future

In the past, some teens have relatively easy access to marijuana for recreational usage. The passage of Proposition 64, which legalizes cannabis for adults 21 or over, may affect this underage usage.

In 1996, medicinal marijuana was legalized in California and since then, the controversy over legalizing its recreational use has risen. This November, the people voted in favor for Proposition 64, which supported legalizing recreational marijuana. Proposition 64 allows marijuana to be bought and sold by adults 21 and older with a sales tax. Unlike alcohol or tobacco products, marijuana usage must strictly stay out of public places. Though Proposition 64 does not pertain to anyone under the age of 21, many students hold strong opinions concerning its effects on teenagers.
Chandler Martineau, senior, supports the recreational usage of marijuana and its recent legalization. His support stems from the regulations that will now be enforced on marijuana plantations. Before the bill passed, “People didn’t know if the growers were spraying chemicals on the plants; people were unaware whether it was unhealthy,” he said. “Now we are going to have people making sure that it’s healthy (and safe) so that users know what they’re smoking.”

In terms of student usage, Martineau believes “it will stay stagnant” because “if they want to smoke marijuana, they are going to get their hands on it even if it’s not legal.”  

Felix* agrees that the legalization of marijuana is good for the country, but not because it will decrease underage use. “The legalization will not make it harder for students to obtain. Not at all,” he said. “If people want to smoke weed they smoke weed; it’s like alcohol. (Some) underage students drink all the time.”
The benefit from this legalization, Felix believes, will be that it will help the economy. The legal sale of marijuana in California is estimated to provide an influx of around $1.4 billion tax revenues with a 15% tax rate on cannabis sales. The high price is meant to discourage underage users by making pot accessible, but expensive.
However, to many, the downside of the legalization, in terms of its effects on students, is that “it will be easier for students to obtain because young adults aren’t very mature and can give it to teens,” Camille Lish, sophomore, said. Now, in addition to illegally using someone else’s medical marijuana prescription, minors can simply obtain the drug from an of-age user.
“Marijuana alters your mind, so you can’t always make the right decisions,” Lish said, in opposition to its legalization. “It smells bad too.”

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