Generation Gap: College student says marijuana a gateway drug, N.H. should not decriminalize it
File - In this Dec. 5, 2013 file photo, marijuana matures at the Medicine Man dispensary and grow operation in northeast Denver. Colorado voters still support the state law that legalized recreational marijuana, but most believe it is hurting the image of the state, according to a new poll released Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. The Quinnipiac University Poll found that 51 percent of voters overall believe the measure is bad for the state's reputation, while 38 percent see it as a net positive. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, file)
Marijuana use and legalization have been huge hot-button issues in the media and are gaining widespread attention as legalization is debated and even approved in states across the country. My opinions on the issues surrounding marijuana are very different from many people of my generation, and I attribute that to two main things.
First, I am a senior at New England College majoring in criminal justice with a minor in legal studies and psychology. I will enter law school in the fall of 2014 and hope to eventually work in the field of family law. This is a career where drug use is frowned upon – and in some instances a complete deal-breaker in terms of gaining and maintaining employment.
Second, I am completely against the use of marijuana as a recreational drug because I have seen marijuana use lead to the use of more severe drugs.
I am proud that I have never tried will never try marijuana. I am a firm believer that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to the use and ultimate abuse of more toxic and life-destroying drugs such as heroin, cocaine and pills.
I have never had a desire to try marijuana because I know of plenty of people who have used this drug. I have witnessed this substance lead to the use of other drugs, followed by addiction, criminal behavior in order to support drug use, and the ultimate destruction of families and friendships.
Numerous states have decriminalized marijuana. This means that if people are caught in possession of marijuana, if it is their first time and the amount they are in possession of is small, it will be treated like a minor traffic violation with no prison time attached. Some people say this will ease pressure on the courts and prison system, giving them more time to focus on serious offenses and cases. In my opinion, decriminalization may at first alleviate crowding in prisons for minor drug offenses and give the courts more time to focus on prosecuting serious violent crimes.
But over time, when people get tired of just using marijuana and they turn to more serious drugs, the courts and prisons will become overwhelmed once again.
I know that my opinion on marijuana use is not typical of my generation. Most people don’t believe me when I say I haven’t tried marijuana at least once. The assumption most of the time is all kids my age have tried it. I have no tolerance for drug use of any kind because I have seen firsthand the negative effects it can have. Marijuana in my eyes is a gateway drug. All it does is open the door to more serious drug use in the future.
(Molly Wilcox is a senior at New England College in Henniker.)