Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Letter to the Editor | Marijuana’s benefits: Blazing the trail to legalization

Here at Miami, we are pretty much all capable of reading. We can sit down and look at a simple sentence and glean enough information from the words on the page to get an idea of what the writer meant. Especially when an idea is explicitly and obviously outlined. So already, at the ripe young age of 20, we are smarter than the 535 congressmen that run our country. Exhibit A: the 1970 Controlled Substances Act.

In the early 1900s, at a time when Mexican immigration was becoming a relevant issue at the forefront of politics, people began trying to understand the culture of these foreigners. One thing people started to notice was that these immigrants brought a strange plant across the border with them. One which had properties we Americans were becoming quite intrigued with. It was called "marihuana."

It was no different than the cannabis that sat in the cabinets of almost every American home in a host of medications. But we were afraid. These people who we did not understand and could not get along with were introducing a part of their culture to us. They brought with them a medicine across the border that was so powerful, it could cure hundreds of the ailments we felt. So, naturally, we made it illegal. We didn't like these people, so we surely were not going to let them bring some kind of hallucinogenic weed with them, no matter how beneficial it was to us.

Fast forward to the rebellious teenagers of the 1970s. Not only was marijuana illegal, but so were a host of other new, synthetic drugs these youngsters were experimenting with. So Congress created the brain child that fueled the biggest economic mistake of the 20th century: the Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana joined hard drugs like cocaine and heroin in the dark corner that was Schedule 1 substances. Ones that "have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse." Translation: "we don't have any scientific basis for this but we're going to make it illegal anyway."

Students of Miami, we are smarter than this. At an institution that conducts 24/7 research and makes leaps in scientific studies across the spectrum of the fields we represent, are we going to stay silent? Are we going to let this injustice prevail? No.

Alzheimer's disease, Epilepsy, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Arthritis, chronic pain, nausea, insomnia, the list goes on. Hundreds of illnesses can be treated or mitigated with the use of marijuana. Over 20,000 studies have been conducted, and the science speaks for itself. Marijuana cannot remain illegal.

I understand I'm probably preaching to the choir on this one. But not many students know what we can do. I urge you: call your congressmen. Ask them to support bills that propose legalizing marijuana and create new ones if those are struck down. Tell them to see what estimates is over 20,000 scientific studies conducted about marijuana. We must legalize it.

Julia Pair