Focus Friday: Should the U.S. legalize marijuana?
For this week’s Focus Friday, we discuss the legalization of marijuana. The Drug Enforcement Agency recently announced it could potentially be rescheduling cannabis in the coming months and has marijuana activists in a frenzy.
Do you think the DEA will actually reschedule cannabis this time?
Opinion columnist Reagan Earnst: I do believe that the DEA will reschedule marijuana this go around. It seems obtuse that marijuana is currently a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin and LSD, which are responsible for thousands of overdoses every year. It’s understandable that perhaps in past decades we did not fully understand the potential dangers of marijuana, but research from a multitude of studies has revealed that the risks associated with marijuana use are inherently small.
It is time that the Drug Enforcement Agency get with the times and realize that marijuana is not even close to being as dangerous as some of the other drugs that they consider Schedule I.
Opinion columnist Frank Campos: It’s about time the DEA reschedules marijuana from schedule I to schedule II. Putting it in the same category as heroin, ecstasy and LSD is one of the biggest mistakes the DEA ever made. Both heroin and ecstasy put people in the morgue while marijuana has single-handedly rejuvenated Jack in the Box to consumers and has caused afternoon naps and food comas all over the United States.
The DEA needs to set an example to the lawmakers of this country. Marijuana at its worst should be compared to alcohol as a fun, and safe way to get a “high” when used responsibly. With all the studies done by the DEA and the positive response in Colorado, the DEA would be stupid not to reschedule marijuana and get out of the 1930s.
Opinion columnist Samuel Pichowsky: I do think there is a possibility that the DEA will reschedule cannabis, but it will not be enough. Study after study has shown the effects of cannabis, so at this point one must wonder why it is still illegal anywhere. Cannabis is definitely not as harmful as other substances. It would be a step in the right direction for legalization advocates and for being scientifically accurate in general. The sooner it is rescheduled, the better.
Should marijuana be legalized on a federal level?
RE: Honestly, marijuana should be legalized on a federal level. It is highly hypocritical of lawmakers to be OK with society’s love affair with alcohol and tobacco but ban marijuana. In my opinion, weed is not conducive to a great work ethic, but nobody is getting cancer or overdosing from smoking small amounts of it.
In fact, we are treating cancer patients with marijuana. Its benefits far outweigh its risks and its time we get rid of the stigma that is associated with marijuana. Many states have already legalized it and have reaped the benefits of the tax revenue derived from marijuana sales.
FC: Marijuana should be legalized on the federal level. We are at a time in our country where we are finally starting to be more tolerant towards many lifestyles and ideals that where once thought to be extremely taboo. With the legalization of marijuana in a couple of states and more and more states allowing for medical use, marijuana should be looked at with a more tolerant and accepting point of view. Legalizing marijuana at a federal level would benefit many with medical needs in states where it is illegal, and it would benefit the economy by adding another resource with multiple uses and qualities.
SP: Yes, marijuana should be legalized on a federal level. It should be regulated as much as any other legal substance like alcohol and tobacco. Also, the immediate release of any one incarcerated for possession is required. Non-violent marijuana related offenders should be released as soon as possible. The sooner marijuana is legalized the better it will be for state economies, by reducing crime and reducing mass incarceration.
If people want to smoke marijuana, let them smoke it, regulate it and make a profit out of it. This has been done with tobacco and alcohol. Does everybody smoke tobacco or drink? No. Just keep it out of the hands of children and follow Colorado’s lead.