Van Nuys Senior High School

Van Nuys on the legalization of marijuana

After multiple failed attempts over the course of a century, Proposition 64, which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana, passed with a 56 percent vote in California on Nov. 9.

Proposition 64 legalizes the recreational use of marijuana; anyone 21 and older can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow a maximum of six marijuana plants at home. The proposition can also potentially reduce sentences as well as clearing criminal records of prisoners that have been convicted of felonies related to the possession and consumption of marijuana.

Although the proposition gives leeway to many marijuana-related offenses, people are worried of the consequences that come with its passage. Low-income people who use marijuana for medical purposes are uneasy about the 15 percent tax that comes tacked onto the purchase of cannabis. Others are expressing their agitation over a provision in the proposition that doesn’t offer the guarantee of school funding and public services with the collected tax.

Conditions still apply to the passing of the proposition. For instance, the earliest date for the opening of recreational marijuana retail stores will be January 2018. Growers and sellers will have to obtain licenses from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Food and Agriculture, further prolonging the availability of recreational marijuana. Marijuana must also be consumed in the confinements of a private residence or in a licensed business property.

Cities are able to regulate zoning laws to restrict where retailers are able to set up shop, and local committees hold the power to regulate and restrict the consumption of marijuana in community spaces.

Restrictions may exist against the use of marijuana, but benefits come with the legalization of the it. Studies have shown that in states that have legalized marijuana, teen consumption of cannabis has been on a small decline. Legalization of cannabis also allows a safer transaction plan. The buyer is informed of how their marijuana is processed and where it came from.

Schools are faced with a dilemma. Although the legalization of marijuana has been known to decrease teenage consumption, concerns arise within parents and administrators. The most common concern is that the proposition presents a negative message to students; the term “recreational” may encourage students to indulge in the under-age use of marijuana.

Van Nuys High School has a no-tolerance drug policy. The school has a counseling program that is provided on and off campus for students who use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The school is also in partnership with the National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Programs.

“While I am very displeased by the smell of marijuana, the legalization of marijuana might be proven to be a beneficial proposition for it betters the state’s economy through the taxes on marijuana while at the same time, weakening the drug cartels and the black market trade,” said Bryan Denq, a junior, who acknowledges the positive effects of legalization, but hopes that the school will not be too affected by it. ”I just hope that the bathrooms are not smoked out from marijuana. It is very difficult do your business with such a smell.”

Min Kim, a junior, believes in using marijuana for medical means, but discourages the use of it recreationally. “I don’t understand why someone over 21 without any medical issues would need access to weed.”

People hope that the legalization of recreational marijuana will work to fight against the stigma that surrounds the nature of consuming it.

“I think legalizing the proposition is a step forwards towards creating a united front against the hate that surrounds the use of marijuana, medical or not,” commented Joseway Gomez. “I don’t see it as a step backwards, but a step forwards in our changing society.”