Tue. Feb 19th, 2019

Editorial: This is your brain on drugs

Remember in high school when your parents forbade you from staying out past 11 p.m. or dating the person in your English class with the facial piercings and noisy car? And remember how, with their condemnation, it made you want to do all those things all the more?

Welcome to the world of recreational marijuana.

Currently, only four states — Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska, plus the District of Columbia — allow the recreational use of the drug, but 23 states, including New York, have passed legislation allowing the use for medicinal purposes.

Any college student who claims to support presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would know that the push for widespread legalization of recreational pot has gotten as hot as a freshly rolled joint passed into your fingertips.

An oft¬used argument for the case basically says that expecting young people to refrain from smoking pot is about as effective as preaching sexual abstinence. That is, not at all.

This leads to many questions: Is this true? Is drug use inevitable, at least in terms of college students, many of whom are living away from home and parental supervision for the first time? And if so, is this inevitability one worth fighting?

As associate news editor Patrick Willisch writes in this week’s article “Reefer madness,” 1-in-17 college students smokes marijuana at least 20 times per month, according to a 2014 study conducted by University of Michigan research group Monitoring the Future.

That may not seem like a substantial statistic, but when you consider that only four out of 50 states even allows people aged 21 or older to transport, buy or possess up to an ounce of marijuana and six plants, your perspective may shift.

In a spring 2015 Cardinal Points article (issue 11, “Fighting a Wildfire”), it was reported that between spring 2012 and spring 2014, 112 instances of marijuana possession and subsequent legal repercussions were included in data provided by the Plattsburgh State University Police force.

In addition to the legal ramifications college students face in the name of getting high, Willisch’s article shows the connection between marijuana use and negative long-term health problems including anxiety, paranoia, dysphoria, cognitive impairment and psychotic symptoms.

However, at the end of the day, fellow PSUC students, we at Cardinal Points will not preach to you. What you do in the safety of your homes is your business, but do not fail to heed the prominent legal and health repercussions of living in a state that has yet to legalize recreational pot use. Until that happens, we recommend legal ways to unwind.

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