Face-to-Face is a feature that allows two members of the Redwood Community to grill each other, argue, or simply converse about a relevant issue or event. We provide the topic, and they do the rest. This month’s participants are senior Jackson Westbrook and junior Adam Barker. They discuss whether or not marijuana should be legalized in Marin after eight of 11 municipalities rejected making it available for sale, and what effects marijuana can have on people.
- What do you think about marijuana being legalized in all of CA, but not Marin?
Jackson Westbrook: So that is absolutely ridiculous. I believe that medical marijuana has immense benefits. There was this guy, Harry Anslinger, who was the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He, being a racist, said because Mexicans smoked marijuana, it was bad. For so long we’ve been ignoring the medicinal benefits that cannabis does have. Personally, I smoke nearly every day because I have severe anxiety and it helps to remediate that. It has shown so many various positive attributes and uses for people with epilepsy, anxiety, depression and a myriad of other medical conditions. Really I don’t see any downside for its use besides, yes, if you use it before 25 it can have adverse neurological effects.
Adam Barker: I think marijuana is destroying the lives of many Americans. I’m very happy it’s getting banned in Marin because there are many diseases you can get from marijuana. It can cause cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which leads to vomiting and nausea.
- Does marijuana have benefits, possibly medical?
JW: Have you ever heard of the other active chemical in marijuana called CBD (cannabidiol)? It has shown major pain relief for people going through chemo and those that have seizures. The fun thing about it is it doesn’t actually get you high, so it provides pain relief without the high.
[Marijuana] can help some diseases but it can’t help them all. Drugs will make you feel temporarily happy, but in real life you experience a full range of emotions: happiness, sadness, anger. It’s more clear to you when you don’t take marijuana.
- Is marijuana dangerous at any level?
JW: Marijuana has been shown to not have many adverse effects. It’s been studied intensively and there has been a history of sensationalizing the effects of marijuana. I believe that if it really is helping people with their disorders then it should be legalized and really there is no reason to keep it illegal. Taking away this medicine from people is not going to help anything.
AB: Marijuana can severely impair cognitive and critical thinking even when people have stopped smoking. In addition, it can also cause asthma and cystic fibrosis later in life. It can make someone feel good for a time, but it can lead to lung problems and affect your eyesight, especially when driving, which is dangerous.
- Should there be a legal limit for driving?
[Driving while high] is still incredibly dangerous. I’m not advocating for driving high whatsoever. I don’t believe that there should be any THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in one’s body. It is very irresponsible to consume any sort of substance before driving. Just don’t do it. It’s that simple. We should be teaching people not to drive while intoxicated.
AB: I think it should be .3 [compared to .08 for alcohol] because marijuana is not as dangerous as alcohol. Very little is okay but if you overuse, people should go to jail. As I said earlier, it can affect your critical and cognitive thinking and alter how you react. If you’re swerving all over the road, you need to be arrested.
- Should there be any restrictions or should marijuana be available for anyone?
JW: Anybody should be able to put whatever they want in their bodies. However, one of the main conditions is responsible use, which we should be advocating instead of abstinence. Responsible use is incredibly important in communities because kids are learning about drugs younger and younger because of these rappers that are coming out and glorifying drug use. By educating people on responsible use, we can assure people are not taking too much and know their limits.
AB: For those who have extremely addictive personalities, they will get hooked. Even though it can make you feel like, “Oh, everything’s great,” it is an irritant to the lungs among other things. I’m speaking for everyone with an addictive personality. Smoking marijuana can lead to addiction and I think the only way not to get addicted is to not take marijuana.