Guns and grass, really, is anything more American than this pair? Since first stepping foot in the new world, colonists used wooden matchlock rifles to hunt for food. They cultivated hemp both for clothing and smoking.
Many argue that the possession of both is justified in none other than the United States Constitution in the Second and Tenth Amendments. Still, the two have constantly been scrutinized and debated over the past few years. Everyone has a strong opinion about them. Now it’s time to decide where we stand as individuals and as a nation.
Of course, grouping them together does not imply the two are completely similar. While both create an escape of sorts for those who participate recreationally, they hold different appeals.
Freshman Molly Hurd seems to understand the nation’s fascination with firearms. “I like the kickback and it’s a satisfying experience,” she said. Smoking marijuana, on the other hand, has typically been seen as more laid-back.
Rather, the issues surrounding each are far more comparable than at first glimpse. Issues of gun control have been put under the guise of racism by the media, like in the Trayvon Martin case. Or under the guise of a mental health treatment concern, as was the case in the coverage of the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.
George Zimmerman was accused of being bigoted for shooting Martin a bit too willingly. James Holmes was accused of having poor mental health gone untreated after killing and injuring over fifty moviegoers at a local theater. Did anyone question their ability to use firearms with good judgment?
Why are we covering up the problem of gun control when we have seen an increasing number of school shootings in the past five years? The regularity of such occurrences is becoming unsettling, and it will become increasingly difficult to mask the issue with body counts on the rise.
Similarly, Congress often deals with marijuana legislation is through the precedented lens of prohibition repeals. States have to obtain a federal license in order to sell. They require an age limit of 21 for use. The more mainstream marijuana becomes, the more the legislation begins to resemble the Twenty-First Amendment. A possible budding industry coming out of the cracks of illegality. Déjà vu hits the historian with full force.
However, many don’t take issue with this and think, like alcohol, this is the way legalization should be handled. “I understand the essence of the argument [and]…I think there should still be an age limit,” says Sophomore Dean Slaoui.
Yet marijuana is a different substance altogether, albeit one with much potential for good. Not only are the effects unlike those of alcohol intoxication, the drug has no known physiological addictive qualities.
The drug is even used medically to treat everything from anxiety to multiple sclerosis. Neither of these applies to alcohol.
In an ideal world, we would all see the potential for good in both guns and grass. Firearms would be readily available for those with good mental health and extensive training. No AKs, bazookas or rocket launchers though. Enough to kill a deer or any other large game. And we don’t need armed guards at high schools. Just keep heavy artillery out of the common man’s hands.
Marijuana would be available for medical purposes of all kinds. States would follow closely behind Colorado and Washington. An age limit of 16 would not be strictly enforced for recreational use but a misdemeanor would be in order for younger users. Parents and their children would be forced to confront the issue earlier. In addition, elementary, middle and high school students would receive better education about marijuana and how to use it safely and in moderation.
What a world that would be. But everyone stands somewhere differently on the issues of gun control and marijuana legalization. And I don’t aim to change those opinions. But let’s treat these as unique issues. It’s the least we can do for our nation of gun-toting potheads.