The issue of Issue 2

Akshay Vadlamani | The Chronicle

The passage of Ohio Issue 2 has led to the legalization of marijuana usage for Ohioans over the age of 21, sending
waves of concern across the state on the detrimental effects of such legislation.

Marijuana has been in use medically for almost a century, however, research regarding the effect of its use on mental and physical health has just gained traction. Marijuana is prescribed to patients on a case-by-case basis, and just because it treats some doesn’t mean it treats all. Now that marijuana can be purchased legally by adults of age, concerns are naturally
going to rise about accessibility to minors.

Legalizing marijuana makes it objectively safer for the general public as it goes through pharmaceutical protocols before being distributed, however, this also means it can be misused by naive people much more frequently. I may be painting a picture that marijuana isn’t all that bad, however, the inherent danger with marijuana lies within the good it can do.

As humans, if we’re told even one good reason why we should do something, it trumps all the possible bad reasons. This is the paradox marijuana presents to those who aren’t properly educated: simply because marijuana has medicinal properties and poses a solution to those suffering from specific illnesses doesn’t mean it fails to pose a threat to those who misuse it.

Cigarettes and vapes have been medically proven over the years to be cancer-causing and life-destroying, however, marijuana lacks that end-all-be-all threat. As minors, it is illegal for us to purchase and use marijuana. Marijuana has been shown to cause psychological problems to those who misuse it, and this develops faster in teens who start from an earlier age. Perpetuated physical fatigue, as well as stunted brain development also await teenagers who misuse marijuana.

Using marijuana isn’t the best choice you can make. You probably already know that, however, there are many people who simply don’t understand the long-term effects it can have on their health. What’s the solution to preventing people from throwing their lives away when they may not have to? Education. Drug education has been prevalent in schools for decades, however, there has to be a special emphasis on marijuana. Its friendlier demeanor, which will be justified to some by the passage of Issue 2, is a primary toxic quality of the substance.

As students, we have learned about the dangers of drugs like marijuana in health classes. Now that marijuana is legalized for adults, the cultural discourse around its usage is going to shift. It’s still important to remember that like tobacco products, which are legal for adults ages 21 and older in Ohio, there are still risks involved with marijuana that need to be addressed with youth.

Associate Principal of Teaching and Learning Tina Drake believes that the systems put in place to help accommodate those struggling with drug use will remain the same, however, the education and awareness methods will change to accommodate for the effects of Issue 2’s passage. “I think [education is] going to be more directed as this is what this is, what it does to your body, and this is how it could affect your overall life,” said Drake. “Now that it’s legalized, we really need to continue to emphasize it. There’s age restrictions, and it’s illegal for you to use it. And try to keep the education positive with a positive tone to it.”

The way we educate our children and impressionable members of our community is crucial to their response to such situations in the future. By the time someone falls into the rabbit hole of addiction and repetition, it’s too late to reverse the damage that has been done. By uniting as a community and pushing for comprehensive and supportive education on the topic, we can help keep students safe and prevent negative repercussions from recent legislative changes.