The Future of Marijuana Legalization

There is a new meaning to “soaring high” at HFC. Since Michigan began issuing marijuana prescriptions it has become more common to see people burning pot out in public. In light of this trend, have you ever wondered what consequences will come to those that get caught smoking on campus?

Since 2008 it is legal in the state of Michigan to use marijuana for medical purposes, but it is against school policy to smoke on campus. It is likely in 2016 we will see a proposition to legalize marijuana show up on our ballots.

“Some people have anxiety and they have a medical marijuana card like I do. Some people don’t want to drive while high because it not safe so they smoke in the parking lot. As long as they do it away from the school, in the back of the parking lot, I have no problem with it” said Mohamed Abbas, a student of the college and a medical marijuana patient. “There are many people that abuse it but there are a lot of people that need it. It’s like prescription drugs, some people abuse prescription drugs, but others don’t.” When I asked him what he thought about the federal governments angle on marijuana he responded “Unfortunately it’s criminalized like heroin, or like cocaine when it shouldn’t be. It should be lowered to a schedule two drug but I don’t believe it should be made legal.”

Since 1996, some states have allowed people to smoke pot for medical purposes even though under federal law it is still classified illegal. A statement on the official White House website reads, “It is important to recognize that these state marijuana laws do not change the fact that using marijuana continues to be an offense under Federal law. Nor do these state laws change the criteria or process for FDA approval of safe and effective medications.”

Even though the federal government has not taken steps to legalize marijuana there has been a lot of talk about Michiganders being able to vote on whether or not the state will legalize pot for recreational use. The reason for the movement is because organizations have been collecting signatures in an attempt to have this proposal on the 2016 ballot. In Michigan over 250 thousand signatures are needed in order to be able to vote on a proposal. In July, Local 4 news reporter, Mara McDonald reported that the Michigan Cannabis Coalition collected over 40 thousands signatures in a short period of 12 days. Those numbers are high and have many thinking that it is very likely we will see the proposal on our ballots on 2016. In the proposal, Michiganders would vote to legalize marijuana for recreational use. This would allow adults that are 21 and over to smoke pot without a medical prescription and the state will be able to tax growers and sellers, bringing in well needed revenue.

I asked Ashley Ball, a student of the college, if she has ever smelled anyone smoking pot on the campus parking lot. She stated that she had not. “There are rules to follow whether you agree or disagree with the concept or the policy. I don’t agree or disagree with the smoking policy but regardless if it’s already written then you just have to deal with it…I think everyone in America knows someone that smokes weed.” Smoking on campus creates unhealthy environments for students like Ball. “I’m allergic to smoke so any kind of smoking interferes with my breathing.”

Issamar Almaraz, Mirror News reporter, sat down with the campus Safety Manager and the Director of Administrative services to talk about some steps they have taken to make the school a safe and healthy environment for both students and staff. According to Karen Schoen and Cynthia Glass it is prohibited to smoke anything on the school campus, even if it is taking place on the edges of the parking lot. Consequences for breaking the rules start with a warning and after repeated offenses students will be dealt with by the Student Conduct and Compliance department. They also added that everyone should be responsible for reporting anyone seen smoking on campus so they can better make the campus welcoming to everyone.

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