The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.

Western Courier

Sessions is on the wrong side

Lindsey Hecox

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It’s pretty obvious that the U.S. is lacking when it comes to its progression of laws regarding marijuana legalization. Whether it’s for medical or recreational use, it’s safe to say we have all taken notice of the push and pull between states and the federal government to make a decision on what the verdict is for legal cannabis. Compared to some other countries — most notably the Netherlands, Spain and Uruguay — the U.S. seemingly almost ignores the success both financially and socially of the adoption of a more lenient policy on marijuana.

While only eight states in the U.S. and the nation’s capitol have made the move to legalize recreational marijuana, their groundbreaking achievements are being threatened by the new presidential administration, particularly the outspoken Attorney General Jeff Sessions. According to the Huffington Post, Sessions warned that America would be worse off if marijuana is “being sold at every corner grocery store.” The Dutch may know a thing or two about this, since the Netherlands is home to widespread “coffee shops” where marijuana is available for purchase, much like dispensaries in the U.S., and it has been tolerated — thanks to “coffee shop” membership laws — in their country for four decades. In addition to this comment, Sessions went on to compare marijuana to heroin, stating decriminalizing cannabis would be to “trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.” Sessions has also made broader statements against marijuana use such as, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Basically, Jeff Sessions hates marijuana like college students hate 8 a.m. classes and cumulative finals.

CBS News reported that while the drug laws are stricter in the U.S., American citizens are actually using more illegal drugs when compared to other developed and highly populated nations. According to the World Health Organization, when compared to countries like the Netherlands, Americans are still more likely to use both marijuana and cocaine. This may pose the question of why we are enforcing such stringent laws against marijuana when they are not even effective in limiting its use. So, what’s the point?

Despite the efforts of the Republican Party to keep marijuana criminalized, they will likely not be able to battle the resistance — Pew Research has shown that the majority of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, support the legalization of marijuana — that brings acceptance and hails the many benefits of cannabis and making it legal for recreational use nationwide.

Anyone who has experience with marijuana (in states where it is legal, of course) would likely agree that it is far less detrimental to our society than Jeff Sessions is making it out to be, as he instills fear in the minds of our parents and grandparents. Most of us would agree that while some people may experience, as the Mayo Clinic warns, mildly adverse side effects to marijuana, such as increased levels of anxiety, there is not a huge threat posed by hanging out with your friends and smoking a blunt, other than the possibility that you might consume an entire week’s worth of groceries in one sitting. So if you’re into that, next year perhaps try to take a break from the last few weeks of classes and preparing for final exams to visit Colorado or Oregon and enjoy a safe and legal drug.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Sessions is on the wrong side