Legalize and destigmatize marijuana use

Marijuana needs to stop being treated like heroin.

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s Note: The Globe does not endorse illegal drug use.

Is there anything as unjustly hated in this world as marijuana? Probably not. For years marijuana has been criminalized, compared to life-ruining substances like heroin.


Marijuana legalization has been a big issue ahead of the midterm election. As more and more states have legalized both recreational and medicinal marijuana, calls have grown for the federal government to reschedule the substance. Currently, it is a Schedule I narcotic, which means that the federal government views it as having no medicinal uses whatsoever. That is absurd.


Marijuana undoubtedly had medicinal value. I saw this as both a medical marijuana patient, but also a person with common sense. For me, it has helped me tremendously to manage both anxiety and depression, but it has also helped with stomach problems and nausea. Beyond my own personal experience, it has helped numerous cancer patients through chemotherapy and has helped others with a plethora of ailments. In the state of Pennsylvania, there are 23 approved conditions for medical marijuana, and the possibilities extend beyond that elsewhere.


The fact that marijuana is treated on the same level as heroin is unfathomable. It simply objectively is not comparable, and this needs to be rectified immediately.


But medicinal marijuana is not the only form of marijuana that should be legalized. Recreational marijuana should also be legal. Studies have consistently shown that marijuana is healthier than alcohol usage, but the two should not even have to be compared. The criminalization of this plant has allowed the black market to thrive, and allowed criminals to prosper. The D.A.R.E. program constantly promoted the gateway drug theory as a reason why marijuana should be illegal, but marijuana’s criminalization is what made it a gateway drug – it put people in contact with drug dealers in the first place.


Aside from all of this, as someone who has legally, emphasis on legally, used marijuana recreationally, I can confidently say that I really don’t see what the big fuss is all about. Marijuana is great, it gets you high. That should not be controversial to say.


The stigma surrounding marijuana use needs to end. As marijuana continues to become legal and destigmatized, the near century of criminalization will be viewed as silly. It will be viewed in the same way we view prohibition – unnecessary, ineffective, and causing large amounts of organized crime.


I would now like to encourage more people to break the stigma surrounding marijuana. If you are a medical patient, be more open about your medicinal usage with those around you, and politely explain to people who do not understand the importance of legalizing marijuana.


All that being said, be mindful of your own usage, especially if you’re using it recreationally. Do not fall into bad habits just because something is beneficial to you, and be knowledgeable that dependencies can still form.


Lastly, if you read all this and think that what I am saying is absurd, I encourage you to give it a try next time you are given a safe and legal chance. You will probably end up thinking “wow, I don’t see what all the fuss was about this.”