By: Nick Thompson (Whetstone Staff Writer)
Every morning, a 20-something college student wakes up, rolls a small amount of marijuana into an EZ Wider rolling paper, lights up and gets ready for class.
Many college students experiment with marijuana at some point or another, and Wesley students are no different. There are no official statistics about how many students smoke marijuana, but many students say that at least half do it every once in a while.
Many non-smokers have no problem with their peers smoking marijuana, but see no point in it for themselves.
“It’s their decision, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad, but to me it’s a waste of time and money,” said sophomore Kristen Bradley. “I feel like it makes some people too relaxed though, especially if they’re using it to deal with their problems.”
Many marijuana smokers believe that it does not affect them negatively.
“I do smoke a lot of weed, but I still had a 3.2 GPA last semester,” said a 21-year-old junior. “I guess you could say I’m a functional smoker. It’s not something that prohibits me from doing anything or being in public.”
Other students enjoy the mental state it puts them in.
“When I smoke, it’s like opening my mind,” said a sophomore Business major. “I think and view things differently than I ever would in a natural mind-state. It’s something new every time.”
Some professors agree with this statement.
“Yeah, I did smoke pot back when I was in college,” said Dr. Mike Nielsen, professor of Media Arts. “It was good for me because I had a very narrow view of reality. It helped me understand that a lot of what the world was, and was a construction of my own thought processes. It’s obviously a fairly harmless drug, but the fact that it has been criminalized changes that.”
Dr. Tony Armstrong, professor of political science, said the drug’s criminalization has created criminals who aren’t criminals.
“When you criminalize something that people want, and they continue trying to get it despite the law, they’re turned into criminals,” Armstrong said. “Because there is such a high demand for it and it is illegal, people will engage in violence, corruption and end up filling our jails.”
Those who are jailed are relatively harmless, he said.
“The people that go to jail over something that is relatively harmless, such as marijuana, are placed in the jails with the harder criminals, which essentially teaches them how to be criminals,” he said.
Many students are aware of the risk that selling marijuana entails, but do it anyways.
“I was selling bud for awhile last semester because I wanted to make a little extra cash, while also not having to go out of my way when I wanted to smoke,” said a sophomore from Pennsylvania. “During that time I learned that selling is not worth it at all. No matter how smart and careful you are with it, there is always somebody watching you.”
Wesley College students are not the only kids smoking marijuana, of course.
“People are holding on and off campus here,” said Darion Carpenter, a junior at Towson University. “They’ll smoke weed in the dorms by going in the bathroom, putting towels under the door and turning on the shower. It keeps the smoke from traveling.”
In Armstrong’s published article “Why the Drug War Should End,” Armstrong wrote, “The number of Americans who have tried illegal drugs at some point in their lives could be a third to plausibly over half of the entire population of the country.”
With that great of a number of people smoking marijuana, it comes as no surprise that there is growing support for its legalization. Many people, including Professors feel as if this is a positive thing.
“I think legalization has its positive aspects, including government regulation and taxation,” said Dr Susanne Fox. “Its medical benefits far outweigh its negative effects.”
While many agree that use of marijuana is fairly harmless, and in some cases beneficial, one should still be responsible about it.
“My dad always told me it’s not something you advertise to people because they will definitely think of you differently,” said a senior Exercise Science major. “Like alcohol, as long as you keep a balance and don’t abuse it, it won’t affect your goals. But some people lose sight of that and begin forgetting their responsibilities.
The older generations caution students about this.
“When students would come in to class stoned, I never really saw the point in that,” Dr. Nielsen said. “I feel that’s going too far and they probably could’ve gotten a lot more done if they didn’t smoke as much.”