Mari-what? I juana know!

Looking into the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana


Agrella Photos

Triton Senior Jeremy Dufford researches marijuana.

Kiefer Callewaert and Sophia Agrella

Marijuana, a Schedule 1, high abuse rate substance, is legal in the state of Massachusetts for all purposes, according to Boston Curbed.

The years 2016-2018 are ones best described as reverse-prohibition. Currently, that refers to the legalization of cannabis for all uses in the state of Massachusetts. Early in 2016, it was already approved for medical purposes. Merely months later, thousands of supporters pushed to legalize recreational use of the drug for people who exceed the age of 21. Today, it is legal to possess and consume marijuana in Massachusetts. Regardless of this, it is still illegal to sell or buy.

However, the developments in state law of Massachusetts are not shared across the country. Only 30 other states have legalized its medical use, and merely eight other states in the country have legalized recreational use. Legalizing the altogether use of it across the country, and in every state, appears to have a variety of benefits and setbacks.

With an impressive 62 percent of the population voting for the legalization of cannabis, it is safe to say that the majority of Massachusetts sees benefits from its use. One major argument is the idea that it would reduce crime rate.

“Driving under the influence would definitely go up,” says senior Gracie Burnim, “but I also think crime rate from dealing, selling and growing marijuana would go down.” described how crime rate has decreased in states where cannabis was legalized.  “Violent crime in such states has fallen by an average of 13 percent since legal cannabis was put on the books, and at even higher rates regarding homicide.” With less people being arrested for the possession and consumption of marijuana, crime rate would take a notable dive.

Crime rate decrease could directly affect the economy, because not only would the country be saving money on prison funds, the government would also be benefiting from the tax money collected from marijuana sales. “It will bring in a lot of tax money, which will boost the economy. Since pot dealers make a good amount of money, that money will now be going to the government,” said Senior Jeremy Duford. The federal government increasing it’s earnings and decreasing it’s spendings could greatly benefit the country on a federal level.

Although many people see positives in the legalization, there are also many potential drawbacks. One of these drawbacks is the overall effect it would have on teens. This includes the influence marijuana has on the development of the brain.

“I know it’s bad for the development of the frontal lobe of the brain, ” said Duford.

A study published in a 2011 issue of Psychopharmacology tested a group of 181 adolescents between the ages of 16 and 20 on their learning and memory skills. According to, “Out of this group, cannabis users scored lower on cognitive tests than alcohol users or non-drug users. The younger the teens were when they started to use marijuana, the more severely their learning and memory were affected.” This shows that marijuana has detrimental effects on the developing brain of young teens.

Not only does smoking majorly affect the brain, it is also believed that pot is a gateway drug. Gateway drugs are drugs that users start with that lead to the use of more serious substances, such as heroin and cocaine. The National Drug Abuse Program did extensive research on the idea that cannabis is a gateway drug. They ran a test on adults who reported previous use of marijuana. The research concluded that these adults ran a higher chance of developing an addiction to more serious substances. When Triton students were asked about their opinion on this idea, many disagreed. “I don’t think it’s a gateway drug,” said Junior Connor Kohan, “Maybe for people who have addictive personalities, but some people are smart enough to not let smoking weed become an addiction.”

With the upcoming debate as to whether or not cannabis should be nationally legalized for all uses, ask yourself, is America ready?