The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Student support for marijuana legalization hits new high

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Medical Marijuana Protest
Amanda Loman | The Saginaw News –

Last week, USA Today reported on a recent Gallup poll, which indicated increased nationwide support for cannabis legalization. Meanwhile, college students and professors across the country are voicing their blunt opinions on the matter.

The Gallup poll, which has been gauging public support for cannabis legalization since 1969, reported that 58 percent respondents were in support of decriminalizing the potent product. When surveying 18 to 29 year-olds, approval increased to 67%, also a record high.

Just as the USA Today article surveyed professors and students alike, the Daily Campus reached out to the Southern Methodist University population to weigh in on this burning topic.

In terms of financial prospects, USA Today quoted Carian Loeb-Muth, 22, as someone who felt that the legalization of marijuana would bolster the economy.

“I feel the legalization would significantly help America’s economy,” the Georgia State University junior said.

“A good chunk of the profits go towards taxes.”

Students on SMU’s campus seemed weary of the long-term financial benefits with a handful of students arguing that the impact from sales would be “marginal.”

Even though legalization support has increased, the poll indicated decreased use among young adults. Approval percentages indicate that though parents are less accepting of legalization, they admitted to using marijuana more in their younger years. About 36 percent of millenials admitted to “trying weed,” as compared to 56 percent of young adults in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Senior Lecturer in English Bruce Levy comes from that older generation whose overall support waives below the national average but he views the debate as a matter of moderation.

“As compared to other intoxicants, including alcohol, marijuana is a generally safe source of bodily pleasure. Of course, any intoxicant, stimulant or depressant can be abused, but smoking a little marijuana is probably safer than drinking five cans of Red Bull and certainly safer than smoking a pack of cigarettes, or drinking half a bottle of Grey Goose, Levy said.

“The smoking of marijuana is not the problem, the problem is the creation of a black market for drugs and the legal intoxicant industry that thrive on its criminalization. And anyway, the real issue of substance abuse issue in this country is hardly about pot, it is about alcoholism, problem drinking, and the fact that so many of us are over-medicated with legal, prescription drugs.”

SMU students overall seemed indifferent to the recent poll results and legalization itself, adopting a mentality that Americans should be free to do whatever they so please, granted that it didn’t compromise the safety of others. In reference to Professor Levy’s previous comments, the real societal issue at hand isn’t usage, but instilling in young adults that moderation is the key. The war on drugs is taking on a new face in the 21st century.

“I think people are seeing marijuana in a different light now. Do I think it’s a gateway drug? Absolutely. But I also think that if you’re of a certain age, you should be entrusted to use marijuana at your own [discretion],” argues a current SMU senior who asked to remain anonymous. “I think it is more responsible to take it out of the hands of drug lords and into the control of the federal government. I know people that even find it to be more of a functional recreational substance than alcohol — it’s just a way to relax.”

Regardless of someone’s personal beliefs, there is no doubt that this recent poll denotes a wave of change in America. Hayley Waring, an SMU junior journalism major, chooses to keep her legalization sentiments to herself, but boldly believes the poll results are indicative of our time.

“The poll reflects a change in the way our generation views government,” Waring said. “It’ll no doubt be interesting to watch how our generation’s attitudes mold public policy in the years to come.”

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