The Benefits Of Legalizing Marijuana

The Benefits Of Legalizing Marijuana

Why the government would benefit from nationally legalizing marijuana.
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One of the biggest discussions in today’s community and media is the debate on whether or not marijuana should be legalized nationally or kept criminalized. While it is illegal to be in possession of, it is not illegal to actually smoke; one of America’s most asinine contradictions.

Already five different states and jurisdictions have changed their laws to allow small amounts of marijuana. Those jurisdictions include: Washington state, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska and Washington D.C. More than half the country is for legalizing marijuana nationally, according to new polls. The legalization of marijuana, despite what so many people think these days, would be very beneficial to not only a large amount of people, but also to the community as a whole.

Whether or not it gets legalized, people are going to continue to smoke, sell and grow it. It might as well be made easier to do, and therefore less dangerous. With legalization of marijuana also comes better answers to the question: is it harmful? While it is still illegal, it is harder to run tests and experiments to try and find exactly how beneficial it can be.

Smoking controlled amounts has also been known to help with health problems such as glaucoma and epileptic seizures. It has also been known to not impair lung functions, but even help improve them, and it also helps decrease the symptoms of Dravet’s Syndrome, a severe seizure disorder, and many other medical issues.

Legalizing marijuana would also open up more job and economic opportunities for people in the formal economy instead of the illicit market. Also, if it was legalized and controlled by the government, it would make and save the government quite a sum of money. Money would be saved because law enforcement officials that have been put on cases having to do with marijuana could then have their efforts and skills put towards cases much more important to the community’s safety. State and local governments would also have new revenue coming in from taxing and regulating marijuana sales.

Leaving marijuana criminalized sponsors massive amounts of violence and corruption within law enforcement and harms young people and people of color. It fails to curb youth access to the drug and, therefore, puts young people in harms way on a daily basis.

Even the D.A.R.E. program has taken marijuana off the list of gateway drugs, though they did it very quietly and without making a big deal out of it. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.) is one of the largest anti-drug groups in the world. They recently took marijuana off of their gateway list.

The gateway drug theory basically says that if you start to use “soft” drugs such as marijuana, you’ll end up moving onto “harder” drugs such as cocaine or heroin. D.A.R.E. has been using this skewed theory to steer elementary children away from drugs for years, all over the world. It has been proven that marijuana does not always lead people onto harder drugs. Even so, tobacco and cigarettes are much more addictive than marijuana.

While marijuana is still illegal in most of the United States, 20 states have decriminalized it, such as New York, Ohio and Vermont. Making it not fully legal, but harder to be prosecuted for, especially if an individual is carrying a very small amount on their person.

All in all, marijuana can be quite beneficial, whether its to the community as a whole or someone who uses it to help with physical or mental pains. Keeping it criminalized is keeping the nation in the dark to all the potential benefits it could have medically, while also harming so many people. If it was to be legalized, think of all the good things that would come out of it.

Cover Image Credit: High Times

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Terrors Behind "Toddlers & Tiaras" - Beauty Pageants Need To Go!

Why Honey Boo Boo is not the girl we should be idolizing...

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Honey Boo Boo is famous for her extravagant persona, extreme temper tantrums, overwhelming attitude, and intense sassiness. All of these qualities are shared by many other young girls who participate in beauty pageants - not just in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" but also in TLC's notorious "Toddlers & Tiaras," a show that depicts the horrors of little girls who have dedicated their childhood to winning the crown.

These shows, and the pageants they glorify do nothing but force girls to grow up too quickly, send negative messages to viewers and participants and pose health risks for the girls involved.

Therefore, beauty pageants for young girls should be abolished.

The hypersexualization that takes place in these pageants is staggering. Not only are young girls' minds molded into having a superficial view on beauty, but they are also waxed, spray-tanned, given wigs, retouched in pictures, injected with Botox and fillers, and painted with fake abs and even breasts.

Sexy is the goal, not cute. Girls of ages 2-12 wear skimpy clothing, accentuating only their underdeveloped bodies. A 4-year-old girl on "Toddlers and Tiaras" once impersonated Dolly Parton with fake breasts, another dressed as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (so basically, a prostitute), and another even pretended to smoke a cigarette to look like Sandy from Grease.

In Venezuela, people are so obsessed with pageants that they send their daughters to "Miss Factories," to train them to win. At these factories, underage girls undergo plastic surgery and hormone therapy to delay puberty in attempts to grow taller. In addition, they often get mesh sewn onto their tongues so that they are physically incapable of eating solid food. This idea of taking horrific measures to look slimmer is not unique to Venezuela. A former Miss USA explained that she would "slather on hemorrhoid ointment, wrap herself up with Saran wrap, and run on a treadmill with an incline for 30 minutes to tighten her skin and waist up." Many countries, including France and Israel have banned child beauty pageants because it is "hypersexualizing." Why has the US yet to follow in their footsteps?

Additionally, the pageants strip their young contestants of a childhood by basically putting them through harsh child labor. Oftentimes, girls as young as 18 months old participate in pageants. There is no way that a girl under 2 years old has the capacity to decide for herself that she wants to participate in a beauty pageant. Not to mention, education often takes a backseat in pageant girls' lives as long practice sessions interfere with sleep and homework. This causes long-term distress for the contestants, including widespread unemployment for former pageant girls.

Moreover, these pageants tie self-worth and self-esteem to attractiveness. They teach girls that natural beauty and intelligence are not enough, when in actuality they should be doing the opposite. In fact, 72% of pageant girls hire coaches to train girls to be more "attractive."

Finally, these pageants pose potent health risks for the girls competing. Not only do intense rehearsals interfere with their sleep cycles, but they are also impacted by the harmful methods taken to keep them awake. One example is Honey Boo Boo's "go go juice" - AKA a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull. She is known for drinking this continuously throughout pageant days to stay awake and energetic - but the health risks associated with the drinks, let alone for such a young girl, are completely ignored.

And, the future health problems associated with pageantry cannot be looked past. Participating in beauty pageants as kids leads to eating disorders, perfectionism, depression - in fact, at least 6% suffer from depression while competing. "The Princess Syndrome," as Psychology Today calls it relates to a small study published in 2005 that showed that former childhood beauty pageant contestants had higher rates of body dissatisfaction. This sense of dissatisfaction can so easily be translated to more severe mental and physical health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The average BMI (Body Mass Index) of a Beauty Contestant in the US in 1930 was 20.8, which is universally in the middle of the "healthy" range. In 2010, it was 16.9, which is considered underweight for anyone.

So, despite the entertainment these shows and pageants provide, they should most definitely be stopped due to the immense amount of issues they cause for those involved and those who watch.

Although Honey Boo Boo is (sadly) considered one of America's sweethearts, her experience in pageantry has certainly not been a positive influence in her life nor in the lives of her fans - and this is the case for nearly all young pageant girls.

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