Marijuana too important to allow roll back

Jeff Session’s attempts to criminalize marijuana will damage community, should be fought against


OLIVER MCKENNA | The Daily Evergreen

Alexander Spradlin discusses his research on the effects of marijuana on stress levels in users and non-users. His research found that users of marijuana are considerably less stressed even while sober.

JACKSON FERDERER, Opinion editor

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is attempting to roll back marijuana legalization, in direct conflict with state interests. The WSU community, along with the entire state, should fight back against any attempt to take away our weed.

The Obama administration allowed states to legalize recreational marijuana without interference from the federal government. Sessions has rescinded those memos, putting the future of recreational marijuana in Washington and other states in jeopardy.

Whether you use marijuana, there is no denying that legalization has helped Washington. According to KREM News in Spokane, Washington collected over $300 million in taxes and license fees for the 2017 fiscal year. That means millions of dollars are going toward state services, including the Department of Social and Health Services.

WSU received $138,000 from marijuana taxes, according to KREM. Psychology instructor Alexander Spradlin has used some of this money to study the positive and negative effects of the drug.

“There are so many questions out there regarding what people are using it for, what motivates their use, and how well it works for their use,” Spradlin said. “We’re getting money injected into the research and we’re breaking down the stigmas surrounding use.”

Despite the overwhelming benefits of legalization in Washington and other legal states, Jeff Sessions continues to condemn marijuana as a dangerous drug. According to Sessions, marijuana is only “slightly less awful [than heroin].”

Luckily, it is probably too late for Sessions to take away our joints and blunts. Washington Governor Jay Inslee, as well as Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, have come out against Sessions’ ruling. California, the most populous state, also recently legalized marijuana.

Spradlin believes there will be enough pushback from the community to keep recreational marijuana legal.

“I think there would be a lot of angry stoners with bongs that they’re wielding as weapons if that took place,” Spradlin said. “It’s so far along at this point, I don’t know how you’d roll it back.”

The threat against legal weed is not as immediate as it might seem, but that does not mean we should sit around and wait for the situation to become dire. If we allow the conversation to continue without our voices, it may not go in our favor.

If you care about state rights, you should care about this issue. If you care about marijuana research, you should care about this issue. If you care about losing millions of dollars in funding for education and health in Washington, you should care about this issue.

Call your representatives. Take to the streets. Don’t let anyone take away your right to smoke a joint.