University students in favor of legalizing marijuana
Published: Sunday, October 30, 2011
Updated: Monday, October 31, 2011 09:10
Amid the early inklings of a testy presidential election, fierce health care reform and potentially game-changing tax policy overhauls, Americans can –– for the most part –– finally put to rest one issue: the legalization of marijuana. At least, that is the consensus on campus.
"Everyone I know is for it," says Taylor Carlson, a senior chemistry major.. "Most people I know [even] use it."
A recent Gallup poll indicates that 50 percent of Americans now believe that marijuana should be legalized, up four percent since the previous year and nearly 40 percent since Gallup began conducting the survey on legalized pot 42 years ago.
Not surprisingly, ages 18 to 29 are most in favor (62 percent), with approval standing at 31 percent among those 65 and older, according to the report.
Megan Moyles, a junior communication major and student government Senator of Housing, believes there is a general shift in opinion regarding legalized marijuana. "We're in a more progressive society," she says. "Lots of things that were once looked down upon are gaining acceptance; marijuana is one of those."
Moyles views the issue of legalized marijuana as ongoing. "Those who, in their adolescence, may have heard the arguments for legalization are now of voting age," she says. "It's gained a lot of novelty appeal in media and entertainment."
Last year, a Gallup survey revealed 70 percent in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes in order to reduce pain and suffering. Moyles agrees. "Allowing it for medical purposes has also been pivotal," she says. "It has lessened the taboo regarding reefer madness and has made it a more realistic, tangible subject for people."
Lisa Erickson, a junior psychology student, has a different viewpoint. "We're putting an excuse on marijuana usage," she says. She claims that people justify using marijuana for medical reasons when their backs hurt, they have headaches, or when they break toes. "People are not using marijuana for the right reasons, and it has become a social thing."
And there is evidence to support her. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that "Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States."
Christian O'Shaughnessy, a junior theatre student who works at Jazzman's coffee house, regards it as a non-issue. "Legalize it," he says, though he agrees that it should be done responsibly. Asked to put a figure on how much of the student body believes it should be legal? "At least 85 percent."
And responsible legalization is becoming popular.
Nick Knodel, a sophomore mechanical engineering student, claims there needs to be more government control. "The government does not really care who uses marijuana. They just want money from it."
JaNae Stansbery, a communications professor on campus, teaches Rhetorical Dimensions in Communication. Every semester her class has a debate, and this semester it centered around legalizing marijuana.
Facilitating conversation on the topic, she splits the class in half––one side pro, the other con. After an hour, the class switches
sides for another hour of discussion. This kind of conversation keeps students thinking.
Outside the exercise, Stansbery notes that the topic almost never comes up in classes. She says, "Colorado Springs is fairly conservative," but from her experience "the student body leans more toward legalizing it."
Many others would agree. One freshman nursing student says that while she is not in support of it personally, legalizing marijuana is what most students want. It should be legalized, they would say, since most students use it anyway.
Leslie Randloph, a junior studying communication and recording arts, says, "Just because it's illegal, it has not stopped people from using it." Asked about differences between generations, she notes that her parents did not see it as the issue it is now. "Back then alcohol was legal at the age of 18. Now everyone is saying, ‘Don't do drugs, stay in school.' It's an issue now because more people have access to it."
Today, whether indicative of their age range or personal beliefs, college students and Americans as a whole view marijuana
in a different light. And the conversation is here to stay.
Jesse and Rachel are students in COMM 290 Writing for the