Sarah Ferraro, a clinical psychologist who previously worked in the USF community, addressed a group of nine students on how marijuana works in the body during a lecture last Thursday. Motivated by seeing others fall victim to the long term impact of the drug, Ferraro sought to present the benefits and negative side effects of marijuana.
Ferraro addressed marijuana with easy to understand terms and presented current trials and experiments on marijuana, making the oration about studies rather than bold assertions based on educated guesses. This explanation elicited one response as marijuana has always been associated with some link to the supernatural; one student said that simply dismissing the drug bothered her.
As the presentation continued, students drifted asleep, left the event, and sighed when a question was asked.
This apathetic attitude towards the drug can be connected to a problem starting at the state level. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 18 states have already incorporated medical marijuana laws, and 14 have decriminalized it in some fashion. With acceptance of marijuana within state governments, a new wave of authorization is occurring send a clear and strong message.
In a recent letter made public last week, nine former directors of the Drug Enforcement Agency signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to oppose pending initiatives in Oregon, Washington and Colorado. “To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public … a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives,” the letter said. Based on the statement, the directors believe the states are creating an atmosphere of negligence by implying that marijuana is a proven commodity.
While the community may not feel this changing tide in places like San Francisco where priority has long shifted elsewhere, this attitude will unquestionably change the culture within states such as Connecticut or New York that have just recently made shift in policy to accompany marijuana.
The consequences of this new movement have yet to fully be seen, but suggest that with the decriminalization and changing of the guard, how we learn about marijuana and other drugs will stay the same for the worse.
According to Ferraro, marijuana has roughly 20-25% more THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, in today’s marijuana when compared to the 1960’s. THC is one of the primary component in weed that stimulates psychoactivity.
For a drug such as marijuana to join the status of alcohol in the United States, states need to fully engage all topics concerning marijuana and treat it with a level of seriousness by creating awareness programs.