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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)

    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)

  • 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.)

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Generation Gap: On marijuana, retiree says moderation makes sense in N.H.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My mother belonged to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Though the WCTU’s goal has always been to create a “sober and pure world” through moderation in all things, Mom’s focus when I was a kid was on keeping our home, and our minds, alcohol-free. For a while, my allowance money was tithed to help the cause. Her fervor was real. … 4

I'm not sure why this is posting by Matt Simon, but it wont let me change it. In response to your article of the proposed 'gateway' status of cannabis. This is preposterous and there are two main reasons why people gateway into harder drugs, which have nothing specific to do with cannabis to begin with. A) The fact that people have to go to a drug dealer leads to harder drugs. If you could get it safely at a retail location, the sales person wouldn't be pushing you into coke, crack, heroin, meth and others. Think about it.. B) Also, when you go to a doctor, they give you a pill for everything you need. Patients get hooked on opoids. The fact that they can't afford it anymore or get shut off by their doctor, leads them to the streets at a similar high 1/5th the cost- heroin. I'm pressing that you get your facts straight, and while you're at it, research cannabis and the endocannbinoid system, as well as Harry Anslinger, cannabis and racism, Dupont and the drug war, Ford's Hemp Car. In the end, you'll wonder why you've been brainwashed the last 75 years and why so many more people are unable to ward off disease and sickness. Erica Golter, director of NH NORML National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws New Hampshire State Chapter www.facebook.com/nhnorml

HEADLINE - death in car accidents caused by marijuana intoxication up 300%

because they're now just testing for THC. They only ever used to test for Alcohol. So, 'proposed intoxication' could be cannabis that is still metabolizing in your body from a week ago or longer. Be informed.,

It is not settled research, the conclusions drawn are speculative at best. Lots of "appears to" and "may".

The study you're referring to has been widely exposed as a hoax. It didn't test for intoxication attributable to marijuana but instead tested for inactive metabolites.

I find this young woman's view point very refreshing for a person of her age! She seems to be on the right track with her life right now as well as her career aspirations! I am not naïve as far as drugs go! I have done my share of experimenting with drugs and my opinion is this - the first time is the best and the rest of the time you are "chasing the high"! This often leads to going for a more powerful drug to achieve that high! As a mother, I watched one of my children go from smoking the occasional joint to popping pain killers, snorting coke and eventually being addicted to heroin meanwhile stealing the family blind to support the habit. Maybe not everyone who smokes a little weed will become an addict but certainly it can and does happen! Kudos to this young lady for being brave enough to state her opinion and stand her ground!

This is preposterous. The fact that people have to go to a drug dealer leads to harder drugs. If you could get it safely at a retail location, the sales person wouldn't be pushing you into coke, crack, heroin, meth and others. Think about it.. Not to mention, when you go t a doctor, they give you a pill for everything you need. Patients get hooked on opoids. The fact that they can't afford it anymore or get shut off by their doctor, leads them to the streets at a similar high 1/5th the cost- heroin. Get your facts straight, and while you're at it, research cannabis and the endocannbinoid system, as well as Harry Anslinger, cannabis and racism, Dupont and the drug war. You'll wonder why you've been brainwashed the last 75 years.

If you haven't smoked marijuana, you have NO IDEA what you are talking about. And, NO, I am not suggesting that anyone try other drugs in order to understand them, because other drugs can kill you. Marijuana is not properly classed with other drugs (including alcohol) because it is the only one that cannot lead to death by overdose.

We are constantly told that cigarette smoking will destroy your health. So now it is ok to smoke weed, which is far worse than cigarettes. It is obvious to me the ones supporting this are the illegal users. So now the legislature is making their decision based on what drug addicts want. Wonder how many of them are lighting up? I just scratch my head with the realization that we have reached the apex of our stupidity in this State!!

Bingo! Collie, I don't understand the logic in anti-smoking campaigns from government while they are legalizing something without a filter which will be worse for people. Legalizing marijuana is simply giving people who can't and won't face reality an escape. We might as well legalize oxycontin or codiene or any host of drugs. People want to get "high", they don't care about their lung health right now and what will the medical cost be in the future once they have all damaged their health? Who will pay for that?

You are very entiltled to your opinion but i would have to agree with all the other comments to your piece. I don't believe Philip Seymour Hoffman started with this drug. It was fist alcohol and then he moved to more powerful drugs..ie heroine which we now know is cheaper than the perscribed drugs by drug manufacturers which has indirectly caused the excalastion in the use of heroin which also contains small amounts of those perscribed drugs the opioid type. There was an article about this very topic a couple of days ago in the Huffintonpost. Finally, it seems since the "war on drugs" has failed miserably over the last 4 decades, the government collects taxes on this drug but declares it illegal and now states that have decriminalized marijuana now have a record amount of revenue coming in by taxing it then would not have had before this is a step in the right direction when it comes to marijuana use. I think the true fix for all of this abuse of narcotics is to actually directly help those who suffer from it the most by putting in place a system to get them off of these dangerous drugs and not just put them in for profit prisons which make them rich from all this abuse! Rich

You are very entiltled to your opinion but i would have to agree with all the other comments to your piece. I don't believe Philip Seymour Hoffman started with this drug. It was fist alcohol and then he moved to more powerful drugs..ie heroine which we now know is cheaper than the perscribed drugs by drug manufacturers which has indirectly caused the excalastion in the use of heroin which also contains small amounts of those perscribed drugs the opioid type. There was an article about this very topic a couple of days ago in the Huffintonpost. Finally, it seems since the "war on drugs" has failed miserably over the last 4 decades, the government collects taxes on this drug but declares it illegal and now states that have decriminalized marijuana now have a record amount of revenue coming in by taxing it then would not have had before this is a step in the right direction when it comes to marijuana use. I think the true fix for all of this abuse of narcotics is to actually directly help those who suffer from it the most by putting in place a system to get them off of these dangerous drugs and not just put them in for profit prisons which make them rich from all this abuse! Rich

Gateway drug? A myth perpetuated by private anti-drug organizations supported by the federal government. No scientific studies exist to support the claim of "gateway" drugs. Studies in political science, sociology, and medical anthropology have shown that promotion of a gateway frame (message) leads individuals to disbelieve other common thoughts and facts regarding more dangerous substances. For example: individuals that have heard of the gateway premise then tried marijuana then realize the substance is rather tame and the gateway message was a fallacy or lie. Then, they tend not to believe that heroin, cocaine, and other "heavy" substances are less dangerous than they've been told. Let's talk facts, not myths about marijuana. Here' s your first one: not one death has been caused by marijuana toxicity. Alcohol, cocaine, heroin, meth., etc....plenty of deaths. We must disaggregate definitions in order to factually understand our world-not, as Ronald Reagan and others that promoted the "War on Drugs" wanted us to discern our surroundings-by myth and lie.

I took a few criminal justice classes in college as electives and one of the professors I had was also the police chief for a small town in NH. I got more out of his class than most as he brought a real world perspective on issues facing our criminal justice system. I was really impressed with his willingness to give us his true perspective on things like recidivism rates, drug abuse, etc. I learned that he supports decriminalization not because he believes people should smoke pot but because of the other ways this would be a game changer in terms of our approach to combating substance abuse. Your perspective on this topic is interesting but also concerning. It is proven that our current approach to decreasing drug abuse in our society is not working. Instead of applying some critical thinking towards how we can better address the issue you simply take a "more of the same" approach. I propose a challenge for your next piece: What financially feasible solutions to our increasing rates of drug abuse and incarceration would you propose?

You'll make a fine prosecutor some day - one that defense attorneys won't mind rolling their eyes at. Skip family law. The courtroom is far more entertaining with folks like you in there.

Good luck in law school. Hopefully it will improve your skills at this little thing known as "research."

added: research cannabis and the endocannabinoid system

Oh , the naivete of youth ! You state that the use of marijuana is a deal breaker in your choice of vocations . I don't want to burst your bubble but if you do a little research, you will be able to find evidence of people enployed in all aspects of law enforcement have used marijuana and more ,i.e. arrests for DUI, etc. I knew a judge that not only enjoyed smoking but also cultivated his own supply. Ask yourself, how many people that use marijuana first smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol ? An overwhelming majority of drug users start with these true gateway drugs. Why are these dangerous drugs, which kill hundreds of thousands of people , still legal ? Because people in positions of power profit from the sales of these products ! While I applaud your willingness to state your opinion, I encourage you to look at the failed "War on Drugs" and the horrible impact the Draconian U.S drug laws have had on the families of users and street level dealers while offering no treatment to those arrested and few arrests at the level of the trafficker.

Do you have any facts on hand to support your opinions? Doesn't appear so.

You will excuse me if I don't buy what your selling. You have seen first hand how it has destroyed lives by leading it's users along the descent to destruction with other drugs? Well, getting a minor degree in psychology, may help you understand where your thinking went off the tracks. It's not the drug, it's the person that is at the root of your so called descent. By legalizing the drug you take it out of shadows and break the connection between legal drugs, such as alcohol and possibly pot and the rest of the "bad" drugs. Who needs to go to a dealer for pot when it can be bought legally. In other words your use of the term gateway no longer has merit, not that it ever did. Good for you for choosing abstinence, but let's not let personal fears cloud the issues. Right now there is not a single part of the State where you would have difficulty finding it, making it illegal had the same effect that prohibition had on alcohol. Laws didn't work - maybe regulation will.

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