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Elon community divided on legalization of marijuana

November 28, 2012

Wendy Foster has witnessed her cousin’s immersion into heavier drugs. The experience informs her opposition to the legalization of marijuana.

“Kids think marijuana is the least of the evil, but it could lead to heavier drugs,” the local resident said.

The Nov. 6 election resulted in the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado, which places the state law in direct conflict with that of the United States. As a result, debate surrounding the use of marijuana continues to surge in the country.

But Foster is not alone in her opinion. Maggie Bailey, a freshman at Elon University identifies with those against the legalization of the drug.

Pew Research Center data indicates rising support for legalization of marijuana.

Bailey said she considered marijuana a gateway drug and would increase the experimentation with other illegal substances.

“If marijuana is legal then more people would then have access and become more involved in drug culture and meet other people who have access to other illegal drugs,” she said.

While freshman Zoe Heiberg recognizes their argument and acknowledges people associate marijuana with a gateway drug, she does not believe it is an appropriate categorization.

“I know so many people who smoke, but set limits,” she said, referring to individuals who use marijuana, but do not other drugs.

Although Foster and Bailey indicates dangers associated with legalization of marijuana, senior Avery Lucas classifies legal substances as more dangerous.

“Marijuana is less harmful than cigarettes and cigarettes have been legal for more than a century,” Lucas declared.

Additionally, sophomore Kate Jablonski said she does not believe the legalization of the drug would modify individual’s habits with respect to marijuana.

Although Heiberg supports the legalization of marijuana, she said she is in favor of regulation concerning individual’s use.

“There should be rules in place if it is legalized, so it isn’t abused,” she said.

She expressed concern about those who would elect to drive under the influence and limitations regarding testing drivers.

Lucas argued the population’s favorability toward the legalization of marijuana should determine legislation.

According to Pew Research Center, in 2011 45 percent of the American population supports the legalization of marijuana compared to 50 percent who oppose it. The survey also indicates men are more supportive of the legalization of the use of marijuana and the majority of those surveyed in the 18-29 age think it should be legal.

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