Weed on campus: Should it be allowed?

Najiah Osborne

Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the United States. 48.2 million people use the drug on a regular basis, and about 18 percent of Americans used it once, as of the year 2019. 

Federally, marijuana is still considered an illegal drug. Certain states have been legalizing the recreational and medical use of the drug. Marijuana is legal for recreational use in 27 states, including Illinois. 

Since marijuana has been legal in Illinois, the use of the drug has not increased. There are many medical benefits of the drug. In order for a person to be authorized by the government to use marijuana medically, they would have to qualify under one of the 54 illnesses listed in the medical marijuana program. 

Those who have been diagnosed with one of these illnesses have found relief in their symptoms from using marijuana. Marijuana is considered to be the most natural remedy, and one of the oldest psychoactive drugs used all over the world. 

What about teens? Is marijuana dangerous? No one has ever been reported as dead from the use of marijuana. The drug is considered safe but only for those who are 21 or older. As teenagers, our brains are not fully developed. 

Many health professionals have warned parents about teenage drug use and its effect on our brains long term. Marijuana is said to cause memory loss, breathing problems and can exacerbate mental health problems in teens if used regularly. The use of marijuana by college students in the United States is very common.

Should we allow students to use marijuana on campus? I believe that marijuana should be allowed to be used on campus. There are several benefits that it has, and more likely than not, students are already using it on campus. 

According to drug abuse.gov, 1 in 17 students are using the drug daily. There has been an increase over the past five years in student usage. Aren’t police officers exhausted? Why continue to monitor students’ drug usage? There are far more serious issues that officers can be handling such as deaths by alcohol poisoning. 

According to Chicago Suntimes in 2020, college students have reported that in the past 30 days,  student use of alcohol fell by a drop of 62 percent. Data collectors have been witnessing this drop as the usage of marijuana by students has increased dramatically. 

Students at Augustana are not allowed to smoke or use any marijuana products on campus. If you’re 21 years of age or older, you are allowed to use the drug at least 500 feet off-campus. 

“Personally what I feel is that marijuana use is not something that is negative. I feel like for some people, it can help them ease anxiety by making them calmer, especially if it’s prescribed to them. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with it,” first-year Moya Guy said.

If you or any other student is negatively affected by the use of drugs by other students, I hope you’re able to accept that at the end of the day, it’s their choice. 

Unfortunately, public safety officers and on-campus police were unable to make a statement on this issue. However, if you have any questions or concerns on campus, here at Augie, your safety is their number one priority. 

In conclusion, the use of alcohol on campus causes significantly more problems for students, short and long term. According to College Drinking Prevention, 1,519 students between the ages of 18-24 die from alcohol poisoning. Yet, no human has ever been reported dead from the use of marijuana. It is scientifically impossible. There have been reports of accidents occurring from the use of edibles, however no direct deaths from the use of marijuana. 

I believe that if students here were granted the right to smoke on campus, they wouldn’t. Studies show that when you’re prohibited from doing something, you’re 10 times more likely to do it anyway. 

A historical example would be prohibition laws. Instead of these laws lowering the use of alcohol, the opposite occurred. People began opening speakeasies and private bars where alcohol had been crafted and then distributed. This alcohol ban had been a nationwide ban. By the time prohibition ended in 1933, 10,000 people had died from the use of tainted alcohol. Too much of anything can cause a person problems. 

With everything that we do here at Augie, students’ safety is number one. Be safe, mindful and responsible regardless if you use marijuana or any other drug.