Marijuana Is Now Completely Legal in Canada. Why Isn't This Happening In The US?

Marijuana Is Now Completely Legal in Canada. Why Isn't This Happening In The US?

Canada's strides in legalizing marijuana highlight the ever-present challenges to legalizing the drug here.

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On October 17, marijuana will be legalized across Canada, thanks to a campaign promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau back in 2015. Although rules and regulations will vary from province to province, recreational use of the drug will be decriminalized. Canada has opened its doors to a multibillion-dollar industry, and with a significant majority of political support, no less. If a large developed country like Canada can legalize marijuana (with some hurdles, of course) how come the United States government isn't doing more towards this end?

The answer to this question remains in the hands of the federal government, rather than the individual states. Since 1996, the legalization movement has prompted nine states and Washington D.C. to allow recreational marijuana use, with another thirty states legalizing the drug for medical use. However, under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is still considered illegal at the federal level. What's more, the federal government classifies cannabis as a Schedule I Drug, putting it on the same legal ground as narcotics like LSD and heroin. Although the government has not enforced its ban on marijuana, it is entirely within its jurisdiction to threaten state legalization.

One of the most pertinent reasons why marijuana has not yet been legalized by the United States is due to the lack of scientific research into its effects, or the mixed results presented by such research thus far. Although a component of marijuana, Cannabidiol (CBD), is being increasingly championed by researchers for its medicinal properties and lack of psychoactive elements, the Food and Drug Administration is yet to approve any pharmaceutical drug containing CBD. And there remains conflicting evidence of marijuana's medical benefits. Recent findings suggest that young people with developing brains who continually use marijuana are more likely to suffer from memory loss.

Another issue threatening federal legalization is the impending uncertainty of driving under the influence laws. There exist almost no laws concerning the implications of driving while high. This is because enforcing these laws would be difficult -- THC, the psychoactive element of cannabis, can remain in one's system for days or weeks, making it hard to assess if a driver is actually "under the influence" at any given time. In Canada, new legislation dictates that anyone found driving while high will face a 1,00 dollar fine, and penalties could include a prison sentence depending on severity. However, many hindrances remain on the physical testing of drivers, including the fact that police training for doing so is lacking.

Perhaps the biggest reason why marijuana has not been legalized in America versus other developed countries stems from this country's own complicated history with the drug. Unbeknownst to most young Americans today, several states had decriminalized the possession of an ounce of marijuana during the 1970s, which led to an unregulated boom in drug paraphernalia sales at the time. Most businesses selling such products made money by targeting teens and adolescents, and soon enough, parents caught on with the trend. As parent activist groups grew in size and drew support from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), cannabis was once more shunned by the public until new laws came about in the 1990s. Though marijuana's reputation has recovered since then, the idea that a drug industry could so easily market towards America's children has brought up a moral conflict for politicians responsible for voting on whether to legalize the drug.

Despite these challenges to legalizing marijuana, mounting public support for doing so, combined with the example Canada has just set, could provide a new basis for legalization in the near future. For now, smokers will have to rely on the laws in their home states.

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Somehow, I Ended Up With The Best Roommate Known To Man

I've truly been blessed.

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College can be a very stressful experience to prepare for. From orientation to selecting your classes for the semester, your responsibilities quickly pile up. On top of all that, you also have to find somebody who you will be sharing a room with for your first year of college.

After not sharing a room with my sister for several years, I was worried about going back to splitting a living space with someone else. Immediately after I finished submitting my application to finalize my commitment to Temple, the stress of finding a roommate sunk in. Rooms in the residential hall I wanted were filling up quickly, and I still didn't have a roommate.

I was trying to find a roommate, but everybody seemed to already have their living situation figured out. However, one day, I received a message from a girl named Tori. Little did I know, she would become my best friend. I saw her profile prior to on RoomSync, an app for finding roommates, so I was really excited when she messaged me.

We didn't meet until move-in day, which made me a little bit anxious, but right from the start, everything clicked. We have lots of similar interests and living standards. Even though our majors are totally different, hers being biology and mine is English, that didn't stop us from being friends and enjoy spending time with one another.

In just the first weekend, Tori discovered that I hadn't seen a lot of movies that I should have seen growing up. From that point on, she created a list of various movies, and every weekend we watched at least one movie together. I don't think she has shown me a movie that I haven't liked yet, and I'm so glad that we started this tradition.

On top of movies, Tori has also expanded my music taste, which is a very hard thing to do. I couldn't be happier that she introduced me to Dean Lewis and Noah Kahan and then persuaded me to go to their concert in October with her. In general, she has got me more into music and is increasing my knowledge about music overall.

As well as going to a concert together, we also recently went to see my favorite Youtubers when they came to Philly. When we found out that Cody Ko and Noel Miller were going on a comedy tour and coming to our city, we immediately planned to buy tickets. It was a night full of laughs, and I'm so happy I got to spend it with her.

Tori Ploesch

Having a random roommate who is also your best friend is rare. I've heard a lot of horror stories about random roommates, but I honestly can't picture not being friends with Tori. Along with being an amazing roommate, she is incredibly selfless and caring. Her focus is always on helping people, and I admire her for all the hard work she puts into everything she does.

Being surrounded by people in the College of Science and Technology, I know it isn't easy. Because I have a strong dislike of science, I give major props to Tori and her friends in CST. I'm so happy she is studying something she's truly passionate about and will love doing in her future career. Whenever I meet people that want to pursue a career in science or the medical field, I immediately give them immense credit. It's extremely difficult to take that career path, and I'm already excited for Tori and her ultimate success.

College is a time for making new friends that will last even after you stop going to school together. Even though I'm only in my second semester, I know I can trust Tori with anything, and she'll be there for me when I need her. I also know that she'll be 100% honest with me when I need guidance or advice.

I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to Tori for messaging me to room with her. My college experience has been incredibly positive thus far because she has been with me through it all. I'm extremely grateful for the way things worked out because I couldn't have asked for a kinder roomie.

Thank you, Tori, for not just being an incredible person and roommate, but my best friend as well.

P.S. I can't wait to bake with you in our apartment together next semester!

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Everything You Need To Know About The Government Shutdown

The longest government shutdown in history will impact every American.

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In the early morning hours of December 22, the longest government shutdown in United States history began. At this writing, the government has been shut down for 24 days -- and counting.

The current shutdown revolves around President Trump's request for over five billion dollars to fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall, which he sees as a necessary response to the "massive Humanitarian Crisis" taking place at the southern border -- the flow of migrants from Central America. Democrats in Congress, who fervently deny the severity of the situation, refuse to allocate funds towards a wall, instead looking to negotiate other measures for border security. Unable to pass bipartisan spending legislation, the government remains closed.But what exactly is a shutdown, and what does it mean for ordinary Americans?

A government shutdown occurs when the annual appropriations bills that fund several government agencies and programs fail to reach passage by both Congress and the president. Congress is in charge of creating these bills, and each year the president must sign them into law in order to fund the government for a new fiscal period. In October, at the beginning of the current fiscal year, only a few of the necessary appropriations bills were enacted, and Congress had until December 21 to enact the rest. However, due to congressional infighting and the President's incessant demands for a wall, the government failed to reach a spending agreement by the deadline, and a shutdown ensued.

Without appropriated funds, any departments or agencies deemed "non-essential" are put on hold under a government shutdown. This means that many federal workers, including those within the Food and Drug Administration and National Park Service, are furloughed, or put on temporary leave without pay. The remaining employees, who work in departments or agencies considered "essential," are forced to work without pay until appropriations are made by Congress and the President. Once the government is open again, they will receive their missed checks in back pay.

Put simply, the 800,000 Americans who work for departments affected by the shutdown have been without a paycheck for almost an entire month now. In past weeks, several of these workers have taken to Washington to protest the shutdown and have appeared on television to voice their frustrations. Forced to deplete their savings to make ends meet, they worry about how they'll make their next mortgage payment and keep their families fed. Paying for daycare services for infants, or college tuition for young adults, has become almost impossible for some.

And government employees aren't the only Americans affected by the shutdown. Though social security checks are sent out and Medicare is paid for, the issuance of insurance cards could cease, meaning that those newly eligible for Medicare could be turned away. Hundreds of sites with hazardous waste or polluted drinking water will go uninspected by the EPA. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, responsible for feeding thousands of impoverished families, cannot last another two months without funding.

Perhaps the scariest effect of the shutdown is its impact on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), responsible for screening passengers at airports. Since the shutdown began, airports across the country have dealt with a shortage of staff, causing long lines and massive travel delays. George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Texas and Miami International Airport in Florida have both been forced to close entire terminals in response to a staffing shortage. On January 14, TSA spokesman Michael Biello tweeted that TSA "experienced a national rate of 7.6 percent unscheduled absences compared to a 3.2 percent rate one year ago, Monday, January 15, 2018." Although the agency claims that security has not been compromised during the shutdown, the lack of workers leaves many travellers skeptical.

As President Trump continues to exploit the "crisis" at the border (see the televised address) and top Democrats defend the merits of legal immigration, it is unclear just how long the shutdown will continue. In the House, Democrats have passed spending bills supporting the immediate re-opening of affected federal departments, but such bills have not yet been brought to the Republican-controlled Senate. There have been no meetings scheduled between the White House and congressional staff, and Trump has abandoned his idea of declaring a national emergency. It seems the only thing left to do is wait.

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