Students’ opinions vary on pot legalization

October 7, 2010 — by Evaline Ju

For decades, politicians and activists have debated legalizing the use of marijuana. Consequently, the details of Proposition 19 on this year’s November election have sparked controversy. The final decision will affect communities all over the state, including Saratoga’s. Although small, the city has had its share of dealings with marijuana, as seen in the crackdown of drug use and sales in school this past March.

Proposition 19, if passed, will reverse the federal Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that banned the drug, thus allowing anyone over 21 to possess, grow or transport it for personal use. Additionally, the state will be able to regulate and place taxes on the drug.

At Saratoga, students possess a wide array of views on the possible legalization of pot.

Some believe that drug use is simply another choice.

“There are many other destructive habits in our lives,” said sophomore Suzannah Osekowsky. “So why do we [make] this one [illegal]?”

Similarly, freshman Anup Kar said that if people want to obtain drugs, they will find access to it anyway.

“Kids who are 13 find ways to get drugs, so [legalizing them] wouldn’t make a difference,” said Kar. “There’d just be a lot more 21-year-olds with pot.”

Junior Nikhil Panchal said that for some marijuana users, getting the drug is half of the attraction. The legalization of marijuana will deny them the thrill of getting it. Then the popularity of pot may decrease.

On the other hand, like any another drug, marijuana can be dangerous. Many students agreed that legalization could make for easier access by minors, as well as increased health risks, like addiction or psychological impairment, as reported in the Los Angeles Times.

“[Legalizing marijuana] will cause many problems. People can just go off and get high,” said sophomore Maya Nag.

Junior Peter Chen said that while making pot legal will help the state’s economy, those who decide to use it can easily become addicted.

A poll by Survey USA from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 shows that support for Proposition 19 is increasing slightly, with about 48 percent of voters currently in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use. About 41 percent are against the proposition, while 11 percent remain undecided.

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