Legal pot is a mistake

Weed, pot, cannabis, herb, whatever you call it, marijuana is pretty well known. While it used to be an illegal substance, times have changed and so have the rules.

Though Proposition 64 had already made marijuana legal for personal use on Nov. 9, 2016, the second part recently came into effect. On Jan. 1, 2018, the use, sale, and cultivation of cannabis is officially legal in California. This not only makes us the sixth state to allow sales of recreational marijuana, but also the most populous. While there are still many restrictions on buying, growing, and using the drug, is legalizing it in the first place a good idea?

Legal marijuana in California has some benefits, but the negative impacts would hurt many more. Looking at Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, there have been many repercussions due to those that have become addicted to the drug. Because it’s legal, people think it’s okay to use it anytime in their everyday lives and have it easily accessible for all. This causes problems such as a rise in car crashes under marijuana influence.

Another risk is kids accidentally poisoning themselves by easily accessing marijuana in their households and mistaking them as candy. Marijuana exposure towards younger kids in Colorado increased by 34 percent compared to the rest of the U.S. between 2009 and 2015 according to a published paper from JAMA pediatrics. If a kid finds and eats a potentially fatal drug that looks like candies, the fault would be on the person who carelessly put it in a child’s reach.

People can argue that this happened even when it was illegal, but the change in attitude regarding smoking marijuana can have an impact on how often it happens. When something is legal, it’s more easily accessible due to people not having to hide it from the law. While adults over the age of 21 should be the only ones who use it and only under certain circumstances, the specific parts of the law don’t get as much attention. Some people only see three words: “legalized recreational marijuana.”

Already, I hear students cheering about the legalization and how it automatically means they can smoke whenever they feel like it. They don’t understand what the proposition actually means and their minds automatically go towards smoking being a normal thing to do. Teenagers and young adults alike can ruin their minds and lives over something they shouldn’t have had their hands on in the first place.

I totally understand those who use marijuana for medical uses such as seizures or nausea from chemotherapy; however, that was legal in California before the proposition passed. One positive thing coming out of the recreational use is that prices for medical purposes will no longer be as expensive due to the high taxes from regular usage going towards those expenses.

I don’t agree with legalized marijuana in California or anywhere, but my opinion isn’t your choice. Will getting high with friends be worth the time and money you waste on something trivial like that? Hopefully not.