Griffin Ell / Arts Director

As marijuana continues to become more mainstream and the stigma behind it begins to disappear, certain states are finally passing laws that will legalize or decriminalize the drug.

Over the past week, Mississippi, Arizona, South Dakota, Montana and New Jersey have all passed laws that either legalize the medicinal or recreational use of marijuana, leading to a surplus of other states beginning to question the age-old question on whether or not ‘pot’ is bad.Of course, there will always be people in America that refuse to do the proper research and are too simple minded to accept that fact that the drug should indeed be legal. It is something that has been used since the dawn of time, and will not stop being used for as long as humans are still on Earth.

A lot of Americans are sitting in jail cells right this second due to having a petty amount of the plant on them, resulting in massive confusion as more and more states are legalizing the drug.

South Dakota became the first state in American history to legalize both recreational and medicinal use of marijuana in the same election. This is progress that was unimaginable a decade ago. They are setting an incredible precedent for the other, less open-minded states when the next election comes around. With marijuana now being clinically proven to treat a variety of health conditions, my prediction is that this recent legalization will only contribute positively for their community and economy.

People won’t have to depend on an illegal supplier or go through the stress of possibly getting locked up for having something that they use medicinally; they can now walk right into a store and discuss what they want out of the experience, and then proceed to legally purchase the marijuana. This is a concept that was unthinkable many years ago.

While those states are taking the right steps to legalize, Oregon took it a little further with far more extreme laws being passed regarding the treatment of street drugs. They legalized the medicinal use of psilocybin mushrooms, a psychedelic drug that has been up for debate for centuries.

They are the only state in the U.S. at this time that has decided on this, which forces Americans to question who is next.

Oregon also took it upon themselves to decriminalize all drugs(yes, you read that correctly). The state has decriminalized all drugs ranging from heroin to cocaine, all the way to crack and meth. Now, this does not mean that an Oregon citizen can walk down the street shooting heroin into his only available vein and smoking crack, but it removes the major criminal penalties that one would receive beforehand for a small amount of the substances.

This will lead to less people in jail for having addiction issues, which I for one, think is a great idea. As cliche as this now sounds in society, addiction is something that should be looked at as an illness. They do not become sober by being thrown in jail. I’m not sure if decriminalizing all these drugs will make drug addicts sober either, but I think it is a good idea to give it a shot because clearly the drug problem in America is still there.


Billy Pruett can be contacted at:

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