Should Marijuana be Legalized in South Carolina?


Marijuana plant

Sierra Wilson, Editor

In the debate over the legalization of marijuana, both sides – those for the legalization of it and those against it – present strong arguments, though neither side can come to an agreement. As of November 7, 2018, only ten states have legalized the recreational use of weed, those being Michigan, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington (“State Marijuana Laws in 2018”). With other states taking the initiative first, it should be legalized in South Carolina as well, but there should be certain laws against it.

If marijuana were to be compared to alcohol, there would be clear similarities. Both can affect a user’s reaction time – hence the increased possibility of a car crash – his or her thinking process, judgement, and mood, among other symptoms (“Recreational Marijuana FAQ”). Like alcohol, there are negative effects.

Regardless, alcohol is legal in the United States with laws limiting its use. For example, a person must be twenty-one years of age to drink, he or she cannot drive under the influence, and there cannot be an open alcoholic beverage in vehicles. Whether people abide by these laws or not is another story determined by the choices of each person, but they are there to make the use of alcohol safer.

If alcohol is legal even though it is known to cause birth defects when used during pregnancy, affect emotions, and decrease a user’s health, why should marijuana be illegal? Allow people to use it, but do not completely decriminalize its use. It should be against the law to drive while high, the amount on a person at one time should be kept to a minimum, and people should be a certain age before they can buy weed. It should also be sold only by licensed professionals.

If the negatives do not outweigh the positives, why hold back?