A call to legalize marijuana for its benefits and everything we do not know


Jacob Summerville, Staff Reporter

In Louisiana, medical marijuana is legal, but I think we need to take the last step forward and legalize it for recreational purposes.

Weed has been portrayed in media as this super-secretive drug, but in reality, weed consists of parts of a plant crushed up and inhaled. When used properly, marijuana has proven to be effective in the medical world and economic industry. Not only this, but the importance of its legalization is to decriminalize the drug so that research will not be as restricted and taboo as it currently is. Additionally, I believe that not many more people will smoke marijuana recreationally than there already are.

According to the National Institute on Drug abuse, medical marijuana is used to help HIV/AIDS patients deal with immune system pains, people with mental disorders, and those experiencing pain and inflammation. In some cases such as HIV/AIDS, there is no other equivalent alternative than marijuana.

In an article by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Colorado’s economy boomed from recreational legalization. The drug contributed to over $1 billion in sales over the first three years of it legalization, and over $400 million in medical sales.

In that same article, an increase of tax revenue and marijuana licenses also contributed to the growth of the state’s economy.

A major problem facing legalization is that marijuana does not have a standard unit volume. I think that its standard size should be considered on a chemical and mass level.

There should be a tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol concentration that is standardize on the national level. The indica and sativa labels and fancy names that go along with weed products are entirely subjective in terms of their affect and have zero relevance to the chemical compounds within the product. Currently, someone smokes the batch and gives an abstract measurement of how much of an indica, night-time affect, or sativa, day-time affect, reaction they have to it. For the safety of its consumers, we need to go on a more scientific and consistent scale.

Next, decide what is the best weight in grams. I will be completely honest and say that I would not even know what to recommend as the standard weight. However, the strength of THC should decrease as the mass increases.

Lastly, once marijuana is legalized, I do not believe that many new smokers will join the market. Over the last 40 to 50 years, the potency of the pot plant has grown. When female pot plants are separated from males, they grow faster and create larger flowers. Essentially, the female plant grows sexually frustrated, creating more THC/CBD resin. The farmers can clip these plants and grow genetically identical ones, slowly raising the plants potency.

Weed has grown three to four times as strong in the past couple of decades, and “new” smokers will not experience the super-mellow feel that was experienced in the ’60s and ’70s. Will this stop new people all-together from smoking recreationally if it is legalized in Louisiana? Of course not.

Because scientific research has not adequately discovered marijuana’s long-term affects, I do not think Louisiana’s legislation, or federal legislation for that matter, will allow this drug to become openly available. Nevertheless, I think that the benefits of this drug far outweigh any downfalls, and there will not be a permanent increase in “potheads.”

For now, our generation here in Louisiana will have to stick with vaping.