Why Alabama Should Legalize Marijuana

By Legalizing Marijuana, Alabama Could Turn Over A New Leaf

Alabama has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make its mark on history but in a more positive light.

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Sweet home Alabama! A term used for many in the state, but is also known worldwide. Being tied up with the band Lynyrd Skynyrd helps with the worldwide part (but you know where I am getting at). Alabama is known for its southern hospitality, tradition, and its brand of kick-ass football. It has its scars of history from the heightened battles of the Civil Right movements in Birmingham to its roots in racism. Alabama still remains the "Heart of Dixie" and is home to roughly 5 million people.

The biggest problem that Alabama has had to face with the rise of millennials and the fall of its beloved white southern tradition?

Ignorance.

Alabama as a whole has not been ignorant, but we all know what color Alabama is going to be when it comes to a presidential election (or almost any election at that). In fact, the whole South (excluding Florida, which in most cases is more of a Southern California than a Southern State) can be considered ignorant. The "Bible Belt," if you will, has always been deeply rooted in southern white tradition, and that is where most of the decisions are made.

Alabama could be the first (excluding Florida, again) to lead the revolution of these states into a new era.

Legalization of marijuana.

If Alabama were to legalize marijuana (from this point on I will be using the term weed as a substitute) they could lead the revolution of a drug that has not only been ostracized by society, but that has led to the most skewed correctional system nationwide. According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) in 2016, there were a total of 2,351 arrests on possession of weed. It is also noted in this report that Marijuana is a standalone drug in the four categories of illegal drugs stated in its report. That is 2,351 arrests on a plant that no one has ever overdosed on. Debaters will say that the "attributable" deaths to weed are way higher than zero, but I would argue that the "attributable" deaths numbers could be skewed. The blame could also be put on something else rather than just weed.

Alabama has another once-in-a-lifetime chance to make its mark on history but in a more positive light.

We need to continue to have more conversations and not assumptions. We need to gather more data, do experiments, and educate ourselves rather than turning a deaf ear just because someone said it was bad.

This opportunity for Alabama is crucial not only for the state but the many lives that have been affected by what this plant hasn't done.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Florida Is Starting To Rethink The Whole Reefer Madness Narrative And I'm Diggin' It

It's a dope change of pace.

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Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will allow people with medical marijuana cards to smoke weed legally and, personally, I think it's dope.

I didn't even know people with medical cards in Florida couldn't actually smoke the weed they were prescribed until earlier this year. My friend who suffers from lupus just started smoking hers after the bill was passed. The stinky plant comes in a prescription pill bottle and she's supposed to vaporize it, kind of like a humidifier. I went with her to a dispensary (no laws were broken, I waited in the lobby) and she explained the whole process behind it. Apparently, there's a lot of ways people consume weed. There's cannabis pills, edibles, patches, dab pens, the list goes on. Like, what?

I mean, that's cool and all, but I couldn't wrap my brain around it. What's the problem with the act of smoking? The end goal has the same effects. Granted, it can mess with your lungs, but cigarettes are legal. Vapes are legal. Think about it: the things that are actually legal to smoke don't have any positive effects. Do you see the disconnect?

I still don't fully understand the negative stigma behind weed. Yes, it does for sure mess with your memory and yes, we don't know a lot about it in general so it's hard to say the drug is 100% safe. But then again, JUULs are legal and we don't even know those long term effects. There are so many awful drugs the FDA has approved and yet, they can't get fully on board with weed. Xanax is a highly addictive, dangerous as hell drug if it's abused and it's rarely monitored. Some doctors hand it out like candy. Even Tylenol is awful.

No one has died from weed. How many people have died from alcohol poisoning? I'm just saying you never hear about a stoner overdosing on weed—it's just not a thing.

What we do know about weed is that it does have some positive effects on people's health and it can actually help those in real pain. Even people with cancer are suggested to smoke weed to help with their symptoms, so what's the issue? I'm glad Florida is starting to recognize that this stigma is old-fashioned and is starting to move away from the devil's lettuce narrative.

I'm not saying everyone should dress head to toe in weed paraphernalia and spark a blunt in the middle of Downtown, Orlando (although, that would be interesting to watch) and I am not condoning any illegal use of marijuana, but I think the Reefer Madness mindset is extremely outdated. People who actually need weed for medical issues are not using it recreationally, so any prior beef with Mary Jane should not affect their health.

Florida is finally making changes for those who medically need it and it's lit.

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