Recreational Mariijuana in New York

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Recreational Mariijuana in New York

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For centuries, marijuana has been used for medical and recreational purposes, ranging from smoking

for a relaxing high to using it as a herbal medicine. In 2018 currently marijuana is used more than ever and even legalized in eight states for recreational use including the District of Columbia and is legalized for medical use in all 50 states. But there is still a huge debate about whether or not marijuana should be legalized for recreational purposes in New York. Marijuana is part of nature and should be embraced by people for all of the great uses it offers.

Since around 7000 B.C.,marijuana has been used for pharmaceutical, psychoactive, and divinatory purposes. Humans have always found this plant to be very useful. Scientist have found that properly functioning endogenous cannabinoid receptors is necessary for good health. Marijuana can also help with therapeutic problems as well like neuroprotective, anticancer, antibacterial, and antidiabetic properties. It has also been found to help patients with chronic pain, alcoholism/drug addiction, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy.

Since New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has entered office he has been very clear about his opposition to marijuana stating it is a “gateway drug.” Within the last year however, a lot has changed. With neighboring states legalizing recreational marijuana we now must decide what is best for our state. Cuomo recently stated, “Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all” A big change compared to last year. He now believes that legalizing marijuana for recreational use could help our state tremendously. A May study by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer projected marijuana use could foster a $3.1 billion market in the state. If Cuomo’s plan is successful, New York State could change completely.

Many people are concerned about what will happen if marijuana is legalized. They fear the unknown and think that it will make the world a worse place. A recent survey on this topic asked people in the Lake Shore community questions about marijuana. First, they were asked if marijuana should be legalized. 85% of people agreed that it should and 15% disagreed. People were asked for their opinion on marijuana being legalized.

One person said, “I think if you’re using it for medical reasons yes, but if you’re like using it for recreational use or like doing it for the thrill then no.”

Another question asked if marijuana is considered a gateway drug, 15% of people answered yes and 85% answered no. One respondent said, “ I got bored of smoking and wanted to do more drugs to get a better high.” Finally, people were asked was if marijuana was safer than alcohol, 89% of people replied yes and 11% replied no.

One of my interviewees said, “ While you’re drunk you can’t really control yourself, but while your high you have more self control.” People locally think that marijuana for the most part should be legalized, while others stay close minded and shut the idea down completely.

People have been comparing alcohol and marijuana for quite some years. Many claim because alcohol is legal that it is safer than marijuana, but that actually isn’t true. Alcohol is responsible for death and 3.2% of disease and injury. Marijuana in fact has a very low death rate and is responsible for .3% of disease and injury. Using alcohol for a long period of time can cause many health problems. That doesn’t happen when marijuana is used for a long period of time. Marijuana can actually be used to treat cancer while on the other hand alcohol can cause cancer. Marijuana is one of the safest drugs and way less addictive than alcohol.

Colorado has legalized marijuana in their state for recreational use. Since Colorado has legalized marijuana the state has created thousands of jobs and generated over $1.5 billion in revenue . With this revenue Colorado has donated $150 million in tax revenue to the “Marijuana Tax Cash Fund” to help create housing programs, aid mental health programs in jails, and contribute to health programs. The state has also put $15.3 million toward permanent supportive housing. $9.7 million went to the Department of Education and $500,000 has gone toward the opioid epidemic in Colorado. If the marijuana is legalized in New York, it too, could be making this kind of money and help out the state to make it a better place.

Marijuana should be legalized for recreational use to help those in need that won’t speak up about their problems. They’re are many benefits ranging from curing cancer to simple things like treating depression or scoliosis. Why should we have a plant that can do so much good, illegal. The answer to that we may never know, but we do know that we are slow but surely making an impact on our government by fighting back for what we believe in.

By Katie Roland