Riseponds is a series where a group of Risen members are picked not based on viewpoints but solely by "first come first serve" to speak on a topic that they're passionate or apathetic about. The randomness serves so readers can get different viewpoints from different people with different experiences or similar perspectives from different people. With the randomness comes the surprise of how contrasting or similar Risen members think when it comes to a certain topic.
The topic for this month is whether or not marijuana should be legalized. This topic is intriguing due to the variety of viewpoints pertaining to it; some people are "pro-weed", some are entirely against it, and many can be categorized somewhere in between.
Terra W: Marijuana is less harmful than tobacco and alcohol, yet it’s still illegal, and unlike both previously mentioned substances, it happens to have medicinal benefits. It’s been found to help people suffering from cancer, AIDS, and other conditions. Yet it’s difficult to obtain, and unsafe to use because of it’s legality in certain states. You don’t always know what you’re using because it could be combined with something extremely dangerous. Legalizing marijuana could help to ensure that it’s pure and not laced with anything dangerous, so it can alleviate pain in patients who use it.
Charis H: Drug use doesn't stop when drugs become illegal. It continues on and so many are penalized for their usage. If marijuana was legalized, it would be much easier for those with drug problems to get the help they need without being afraid of the consequences. A country's goal should be to help its people, not punish them, and by legalizing marijuana, we can do exactly that. There is no use in crowding jails for a problem that America could have ended by helped these people. With legalization, safety also comes into the sights of those that choose to use the drug. There would be no more sketchy dealers or worrying about what the stash is laced with because the government would be able to make sure that it is safe to sell. If these reasons aren't convincing enough, the money from the taxes on marijuana sales would be able to benefit so many aspects of our lives, especially education. Marijuana legalization can only be of a benefit to the United States, as well as all other countries.
Travis B: If regulated to the appropriate extent, legalization nation-wide could not only benefit patients in need of medical marijuana, but could also provide a safer alternative to the marijuana currently used for recreational purposes. A large portion of those who use pot for non-medical purposes are at risk of acquiring some “bad weed”, or marijuana that's been laced with other, more harmful drugs. A customer will buy marijuana from a dealer, who got it from someone else, who got it from someone else… you get the point. There are multiple people down the line that could have tampered with the weed prior to the actual purchase of the marijuana. Legalization will make the drug widely available, thus making the process of buying weed less sketchy. Government regulations would ensure the purity and safety of the marijuana, for both medical and recreational use.
Edythe N: I think marijuana should be legalized. Think about it this way: it can be easily regulated and the revenue from it can boost the nation's economy, which is much needed for a country trillions of dollars in debt. Wouldn't you much rather have the knowledge and control of how much is being put into the market? It ensures it doesn't get into the wrong hands, like children. When marijuana is illegal, it can be mixed with other drugs and makes it dangerous, but through legalization we can make sure that the product people receive is clean. Marijuana also has many health benefits, which is what it's already used for in many hospitals. Legalizing it would only make it easier to access for people who need it for its many health benefits.
Heather V: Illegalizing drugs doesn’t change the fact that people are still going to buy and sell them. Most people don’t care that the drugs are illegal. Personally, legalizing marijuana doesn't really affect me. While I don't smoke, I do have my opinions on it. Personally, I think that marijuana should be legal. Most people have easy access to it anyways, so what's the point of keeping it illegal. By making it legal, there will be more official companies watching over the production of it. As of now, many of the people that sell weed don't know if it's 100% safe for the people they are dealing it to. The buyers can never know if it's 100% safe either. If it were legal, there would be more regulations to ensure the safety for the users. Legalizing marijuana can help many people. "If weed is gonna be legal up here in Colorado, then consider me forever Rocky Mountain high" -Champagne Papi
Claire H: The debate over legalizing marijuana has a long history, but with the 2016 elections coming up, it's been a hot topic for candidates. It is illogical to keep a ban on marijuana while people are free to drink alcohol. Weed is a safer alternative. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, alcohol is more addictive than weed. The British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal published an assessment saying that alcohol has more damaging effects than marijuana. Why should we not allow marijuana when we are allowed to drink alcohol? Medical marijuana can also help terminally-ill patients, when prescribed in the right amounts and controlled closely. But marijuana is still a drug, and needs to be closely regulated, which would be easier if the government was involved. I am all for the legalization of marijuana, but if you do choose to use marijuana recreationally, make sure you can stay hydrated and are in a safe environment!
Adam F: Weed and the use of it has become very mainstream over social media. Despite its current illegal status it's still pretty easy to get some, which creates some issues that would be irrelevant if the use of said drug was legalized. Most of the dealers are not fully aware of the provenance of the drug they're selling. They don't know if it’s safe for consumption because it could have been laced with another drug and that could have a very negative effect on the body and could cause harmful consequences, such as nerve damage. The legalization of weed could get rid of that issue. The dealers would have to have a permit in order to sell and the producers would have their products checked out to ensure safety. Also, with the legalization of weed, most the dealers in jail won't be held there anymore and with their release it will leave space for other criminals who still roam free; not to mention it could really help the economy.
Art by Terra