The Legalization Of Marijuana

Why I Am Not Against The Legalization Of Marijuana

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What is the first thing you think of when you hear these names? Bob Marley. Wiz Khalifa. Snoop Dogg.

You may immediately think music artists, but soon after the word marijuana has to come to mind. You know. Cannabis. Ganja. Pot. The devil's lettuce. One of the most controversial subjects right now (which is absolutely mind-blowing considering the Earth's resources are depleting, but I'll save that for another article). Does it sound familiar? There are probably some of you who hear the word marijuana and feel ignited inside because it is your favorite illegal pastime. Or you may hear marijuana and feel a little angry because you've watched the people you love build very toxic relationships with it. Or you might hear it and just feel quite indifferent.

I am a person who is obsessed with policy and thinking about how government officials make decisions on these types of things. As a person who is a part of Generation Z, I think it is important for all of us to open our minds and explore all the ideas surrounding the legalization of marijuana and how it would directly affect us as Americans.

The fact of the matter is the legalization of marijuana is exactly what many Americans need and want. We are all aware of the medicinal value of marijuana, but today I want to discuss how exactly the legalization of marijuana is what many Americans want from the government and how it can relieve some of the oppression on marginalized groups.

Let's start off by mentally preparing ourselves for me to say the words "legalization of marijuana" five hundred more times and review some statistics.

According to the Pew Research Center in 2018, 62% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legalized. That is about six in ten of all Americans. So that confirms the fact that over half of you reading this article very lit even thinking about the topic of marijuana right now. To be exact, in a room of 26 people, 15 of you would totally be down for the legalization of marijuana. Yeah, I'm calling you out.

So how is it that all of us know a "pothead" or a few yet weed is still illegal? It seems to be something that everyone does anyway, right?

In fact, that is about right. The 2013 Huffington Post Article, "This Is Why Marijuana Should Be Legal Everywhere," states that nearly 40% of Americans actually admitted to trying marijuana at least once.

And that's just the ones that actually admitted it. It's a super shocking statistic that everyone still smokes weed anyways, isn't it? Like I found it absolutely perplexing that the law that makes marijuana illegal and doesn't actually keep people from smoking weed.

And some of you may say who cares about what Americans want; our government officials make laws according to what's best for us. George Washington is rolling in his grave and say democracy cares. Isn't that democracy means anyways? I'm pretty sure the whole point of having a democracy is to get elected officials that make decisions according to what the citizens actually want. And over half of Americans want the legalization of marijuana.

So if the law isn't keeping anyone from smoking marijuana and going to bed every night dreaming for it to be legal one day, then what is the law doing? I have a few colorful answers to that question, but let's go with it's hurting the most vulnerable marginalized groups in our country. That's what it's doing right.

Now, maybe it's plausible that I am only bringing this point up because I am a person of color and I just really want you to feel bad for me. But once again, the statistics just prove otherwise.

The American Civil Liberties Union report "The War on Marijuana In Black and White" states, "[O]n average, a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person, even though Blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates."

They go on to say that what makes this even worse is that in the counties where this is seen the most, only about 2% of the residents are black. So how is it that one of the smallest groups are way more likely to get arrested for marijuana when they are doing it at the same exact rate as everyone else?

The Drug Policy Alliance article, "Race and Drug War" states that "Nearly 80% of people in federal prison and almost 60% of people in state prison for drug offenses are black or Latino.

It's heartbreaking to hear these statistics, but it's even more heartbreaking breaking to personally know people who have gotten arrested for possession of marijuana, sat in jail for two weeks, lost all of their jobs, and come out absolutely hopeless with no way to pay their bills. All while there are other people all over the country who get caught smoking weed and get a slap on the wrist or a $75 dollar fine.

The law that makes marijuana illegal keeps dads from being home with their children. It keeps women from working. It keeps young people from going out in the world and making change. And a lot of the time, it gets you a felony and takes away your right to vote. These are all rights that people have fought very hard for.

I am well aware that the government would not be able to just make marijuana legal, and everything will be rainbows and sunshine from then on. But I DO know it is cruel and unusual punishment (shout out to the 8thamendment) to incarcerate people for things that people can do legally the next state over. The subject will definitely require more research and attention, and it's time to get started.

To wrap things up, I hope you are all now well informed on how the legalization of marijuana affects Americans. I hope I provided you with some new ideas on how many Americans feel about marijuana and how the laws revolving it affects them. The beauty of our democracy is that you can not be a pothead and still vote to make marijuana legal to give many people their freedom back whether it be fewer seizures, less jail time, or maybe even just a less crappy day.

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Summer In College Is For More Than Just Working

No, you're never to hold to have fun in the summer.

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There should never be an age where you stop having fun in the summer. The weather is nice, there are always things to do, and everyone is just naturally happier. So, regardless of whether you're 7 or 21, I'm talking to you.

During the year it can be hard to find a routine unless you are a very put together person. Sadly, I am not. Even when I tell myself I'm going to eat healthily, work out, and stop procrastinating, I usually don't follow through with that. At school, I find myself in somewhat of a constant catch-up mode. When I feel like I'm ahead on my homework or studying, that usually means I'm behind on being healthy in other aspects of my life. That is why I love summer. It's a chance to reset the clock for a second and catch your breath.

I get that having an internship or working is important for your post-graduation life, but having fun is important for your college years too. When you get a job in the real world, summer is going to look a lot different for you. That is why it's best to take advantage of the time now. This doesn't mean turning down that work experience, it means doing things other than just working.

First things first is finding a hobby you enjoy that you don't do at school. Pick it up for a little over the summer. Why not? For me, this is yoga. For whatever reason, I find myself too nervous to attend yoga classes at school. I have absolutely no reason to be anxious about doing something I like, but I am so I take the time to attend a few classes a week in the summer.

Secondly, try reading. Before you make that look of disgust on your face, think about the last time you read a book of your choosing. If it was recently, then kudos to you for managing your time well enough to do that. If you are not that person, then hello! I am talking to you. I am not a fan of reading because I usually associate it with homework. However, I find that when I have the time to browse the book section of a store for a few seconds, I find multiple books that jump out at me. During the summer I take the opportunity to read a little here and there. The nice part of leisure reading over school reading is that there's no deadline. You can read what you want when you want to.

Finally, learn something new. Again I usually associate learning with things that I am required to learn for my major. Learning something new that interests you is a different kind of rush. When I'm bored in class, I make bucket lists of little things I want to learn about. They can be big or small. One time I wanted to learn how to knit. Don't ask me why my 19-year-old self thought it would be sweet to sit on my porch in the summer knitting, but I did, and I'm kind of sad I didn't pursue that interest. When might I ever have time to learn how to knit again?

These might sound like quirky things to do, but you're young. Make a bucket list and try to cross one thing off each weekend. If you're like me, then you're a little scared of growing up. Scared you won't be able to accomplish all the things you want to. But, the fact of the matter is no one is going to make you accomplish them but you. So, take some initiative and do them. Summer is for more than just working; it's time to live a little and reset the clock.

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6 Ways I Was Able To Achieve Straight A's At The University Of Georgia This Semester

It honestly took me entirely too long to figure out how to do well in my classes.

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It is super common for students to come to the University of Georgia and have a horrible first year academically, because of the rigor and new stresses. High school doesn't prepare you for it, and it can often times make you feel really crappy about yourself. It is common for straight A students to come to UGA and start making C's. The reasons vary from studying habits to a new environment, but either way, it is the worst feeling in the world to be top of your class, and get to college and start falling behind. I haven't really made bad grades in college, but I came to UGA with a 4.2 GPA and I can assure you that was NOT the case after my first semester.

1. I stopped relying solely on my memory and used my resources.

I have always been the type of person to have a planner, but it even takes a lot to remember to look at the planner. Therefore, it was time to take things to the next level. I reminded myself of deadlines, events, and assignments in various ways to make sure I didn't slip up. This included google calendar, putting up a whiteboard in my room, notecards with important dates, etc. I have major anxiety about forgetting things, so to solve that, I just literally wrote them everywhere I possibly could.

2. I figured out why I was in college and what my purpose was.

It's hard to do something every day that you aren't even sure about. When I started to make lower grades, it was easy for me to think I was at the wrong place or doing the wrong thing. I had to really make confirm that college was for me and what I really wanted for myself. I did this by studying abroad and getting to know some of my professors. I learned that I really loved to learn and wanted to continue living in a scholarly world. All and all, I figured out that I really belonged here and I could do it.

3. I changed my major.

It was super hard for me to do this because I am the type of person that creates a plan and sticks to it. Changing my major meant that the plan was changing too, and that was one of the hardest decisions I've made. But once I changed my major to something that better fit me and what I wanted to do in the future (changed it from Risk Management and Insurance to Consumer Journalism), I was more confident and eager to make better grades.

4. I realized that everyone is in the same boat.

UGA admissions state that in 2018, the high school core GPA Overall Average of All Admitted First-Year Students was a 4.07. That means just about everyone coming in pretty much got all A's, dual enrolled, and/or took AP classes. But I can assure you, there aren't many people who continue to get those kinds of grades. And that's okay. College is much harder and it takes time to adjust. I had to realize I wasn't the only one.

5. I put school before EVERYTHING.

I missed events for my clubs, time with my friends, and I honestly probably watched Netflix a total of 10 times maximum. I decided if I was going to be in college, then it would be my first and only priority. It's easy to say that, but it's hard to miss fun things when this is supposed to be the "best four years of your life." But you kind of just have to come to terms with the fact that there will always be more chances to do those things, but if you make a bad grade it isn't necessarily going to go away.

6. When I could, I started saying YES.

It was easy for me to constantly feel like I had no time to do any more clubs or activities, but it was possible with balance and strategic planning. The more things I was involved in like UGA HEROs, Young Democrats, or even Odyssey Online, the more excited I was about what I was doing with my life. I even became a notetaker for two of my classes so I was forced to take good notes and go to class. I also studied abroad when I felt like I had absolutely no time and it turned out to be an experience that I will never forget. I said yes to things I was genuinely passionate about and things that would help me further develop skills for my future career(s).

Ultimately, to make the grades I wanted, I had to reevaluate everything I was doing and put the work in. It is all about your mindset and how far you are willing to push yourself. It's about things like being willing to do the extra credit, going to the office hours, staying in when everyone else is going out, giving yourself adequate time to study, and being surrounded by people who have similar goals. I also REALLY wanted my Zell Miller Scholarship back and I made it a goal to get there. Set goals and make them happen. If you are wanting to get better grades, my advice would be to emirs yourself completely into school. It doesn't sound super fun or cool, but it is only a few years and the return will be totally worth it. If you are studying something that you are passionate about, it shouldn't be hard to direct that energy into your schoolwork.

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