By: Carlo Gonzalez and Carlos Rodriguez
Teenage years are perhaps the most important years in a person’s life in terms of learning about the world they live in and themselves. As a result, teens usually find themselves experimenting with many things such as drugs. Specifically, marijuana usage has been increasingly popular among adolescents.
To some extent, the increasing popularity of marijuana is connected to more teens eating “weed brownies” and other edibles. This form of marijuana consumption consists of various foods such as candy, cupcakes, and other pastries. Since their production, there has been many cases where people mistake edibles for regular food and find themselves highly intoxicated with the drug. Most of the time, these edibles are sold in marijuana clinics and smoke shops.
In the state of California, marijuana is only legal for medical purposes. However, there are various loopholes to this law as a significant amount of marijuana clinics rarely check documentation. It is very probable to walk into one of these clinics and receive marijuana even though you may not need it for medicinal purposes.
In response, Oscar Chavez, a junior, suggests that doctors should prescribe and personally give marijuana to patients that need the drug. “They should have a procedure, nowadays, you can go to the medical shop and they’ll give you a card,” Oscar points out.
Oscar also gave his opinion on the subject, saying he is neutral on marijuana, as there are both bad and good things about marijuana.
Many teens find using this substance relaxing and completely safe due to its medicinal purposes. However, this is not completely true as large doses of the drug can lead to long term effects such as brain damage, fatigue, vomiting, passing out, and trauma.
In fact, edibles sometimes strengthen these effects as the marijuana inside the food may not always be entirely cooked.
Tracy Ohara, biology and anatomy teacher at APB, also gave her opinion on the subject. Specifically, she says she could see many reasons why teens may use drugs, but stresses the importance of knowing your body’s limits. “As much as people still smoke marijuana, it is still a chemical so it can have neurological effects,” Ohara mentioned.
So if there are some serious effects for consuming marijuana, why do many students still smoke or eat marijuana?
One big reason may be peer pressure. In a time when teens struggle to fit in with others, smoking or eating marijuana seems like the easy way to fit in. Moreover, teens may be encouraged to consume this drug in order to be cool, popular, and/or respected.
Andrew Mendoza, Pre-Calculus and Algebra 2 teacher, is neutral on the subject and says students should take their own decisions. However, Mendoza did mention that students should keep their drugs at home due to school regulations and to help them in academics.
Regarding motives for drug use, Mendoza says, “ There is a bunch of reasons. Students may do it because the like the feel, peer pressure, or wanting to be part of a group they see as cool.”
Furthermore, the drug culture we have raised teens certainly doesn’t help in lowering marijuana consumption among teens. For example, many times pop icons have been caught consuming or endorsing marijuana. Not long ago, Michael Phelps was caught smoking pot and parents began to be concerned on the image a historic athlete was giving to their children. Also, weed-centered events such as the infamous “4/20 blazing” were created for no reason but to serve to promote and advertise marijuana.
Moderate Point of View
“If it gets to the point where it’s causing a problem for the student’s health…we should be worried about it,” says APB senior, Sigifredo Soto. Sigifredo also states that the legalization of marijuana is becoming more prominent it is also becoming more of a social activity among high school kids.
This brings an interesting idea in marijuana being a pastime for teenagers but Sigifredo says that marijuana, completely legalized or not, should have the same scrutinization as alcohol and tobacco.
Similarly, Jazmin Ramirez, a senior, believes that students should choose what they want to do and take their own choices. Jazmin also believes that APB does not have a huge problem with drug consumption compared to other high schools. “It’s not very common. The kids that do do it you don’t really know until they faint,” Jazmin states.
Conversely, Jocelyne Hernandez, believes this school does not put enough attention on drug consumption among students. “ I feel like this school doesn’t care too much about it. They just suspend you, but that doesn’t mean the person is going to stop, they just miss out on learning,” Jocelyne argues. Jocelyne also explained that she is a moderate on the subject as some people have personal reasons for using drugs.
Conservative Point of View
Conversely, APB student and SRLA member, Berenice Carranza says that, “You shouldn’t use drugs at school — shouldn’t do it at school or out of school, they’re dangerous”. Berenice shares similar sentiments with other students by saying that there some be regulation of drugs on campus, more specifically, random drug searches.
Despite divergent perspectives on the situation, there is no doubt that there is an escalation of marijuana use at Animo Pat Brown. However, there is no telling as to what regulations or rules shall take place.
APB admin did not comment on this story.