Recreational Marijuana harmful to Minnesotans

Annie Seiler, Online Editor

Medical Marijuana Annie Seiler
Information Graphic by Annie Seiler

The legalization of  medicinal marijuana is on the rise in the United States, but only three states have legalized it recreationally. In May of 2014, Minnesota legalized marijuana medicinally and many are concerned with where this will lead. With patients able to get marijuana through their doctors, the accessibility to obtain marijuana is much easier. Legalizing it recreationally would not be a beneficial step for Minnesota.

Marijuana went from being an unaccepted drug to openly being used by many Americans. Medicinal marijuana is prescribed for anyone with a condition where they are have terminal pain, while recreational marijuana is available to anyone over the age of 21. In states like Oregon and Colorado, the legalization of recreational marijuana followed their legalization of medicinal marijuana shortly after.

Legalizing recreational marijuana is not a beneficial step for Minnesota because of its major affect it has biologically. Marijuana causes “distorted perception” and “trouble with thinking,” according to the National Criminal Justice Reference center. Driving can be extremely dangerous and can potentiality harm their lives or those around them. “Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana,” Dr. Guohua Li in CBS  Seattle in 2014 said.

Although marijuana is known as a “feel good” drug, in the long run it will only negatively affect the physical being of one’s body. Memory can be affected as well as mood, and this would not positively influence the people of Minnesota. AP Pyschology teacher Mike Kaul said, “It’s a mood altering chemical and it creates fundamentally chemical and biological changes in people’s brains, and some people have the capacity to use it without developing complications in their life, but for many people it is a drug. As a mood altering drug its going to affect judgement, ability to drive and to function.”

The potential for abuse is there and also the potential for its use of people underage. If you can keep mood altering chemicals out of people under the age of 24, it is much healthier.”

— Mike Kaul

Also, with recreational marijuana, comes the large possibility of underage usage. Just like alcohol or cigarrettes, using at a young age can cause addiction and other problems that could otherwise be avoided. Kaul said, “The potential for abuse is there and also the potential for its use of people underage. If you can keep mood altering chemicals out of people under the age of 24, it is much healthier.”

Medical marijuana can be extremely helpful for pain patients. Just like any other medicine or drug that can be given at the doctor’s office, if it’s used appropriately it takes away pain and if it is abused it causes a high. Junior Maryn Lynn said, “I think its [medicinal marijuana] definitely beneficial if they’re actually in a significant amount of pain. It helps a lot with muscle relaxing and headaches.”

Some may believe that legalizing it for recreational use would be extremely beneficial for Minnesota because it boosts the economy. This is not a logical reason because although it could increase revenue, the money made is not always spent in beneficial ways. Kaul said, “Like everything, we love to have taxes. We tax alcohol and we tax cigarettes. The question is will the money that is made be spent equally in treating those in need of help. There is a social cost to drug and alcohol use.”

Marijuana should stay medicinal in the United States and should not advance to recreational. Medicinally, there are many benefits including decrease in anxiety, controls epilepsy, soothes Parkinson’s disease and many others, according to Business Insider. Taking the step towards recreational marijuana would negatively affect the state in many ways that are irreversible. Taking something that is known as a mood altering drug and turning it in to a socially acceptable substance is not the right step for Minnesota.