Team Core4 – Legalizing Marijuana

The legalization of marijuana in the United States is a controversial issue. Most people tend to have a definite opinion as to whether states, or even the federal government, should legalize the drug. Many people have good reason to believe we should continue along the path of legalization, and here are a few reasons why.

Fewer arrests for nonviolent crimes.

Fewer people in prison for nonviolent crimes

  • According to the ACLU, there were 8.2 million arrests between 2001-2010 that were related to weed
  • Possession accounted for 88% of these arrests
  • The data also revealed “significant racial bias,” with black people being 3.73 times “more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.” In some states, this statistic rises to be 7.5 or even 8.5 times more likely.
  • $3,613,969,972 is spent by states every year to enforce weed-related legislation

8.2 million arrests. That means paperwork had to be done for 8.2 million arrests, time had to be spent on all of these incidents, money was spent on lawyers, and people were taken away from their lives to serve on juries. Imagine if these 8.2 million marijuana-related arrests did not occur. Imagine how police resources could have been better focused. All of this time, money, and energy could have been channeled toward arresting violent and dangerous criminals: rapists, kidnappers, armed robbers.

Additionally, even if all of these people did not receive prison time, a large amount of money is spent to keep these people in prison for nonviolent crimes. In New York City, the average cost of a single prisoner per year is $167,731. Say half of those arrested for marijuana infractions were sentenced to at least one year in prison. Using the NYC cost of a prisoner, this equates to $687,697,100,000 spent in just one year for these people to be in prison – again, for a nonviolent crime. Imagine if we spent this much less on prisons every year. This money could be channeled towards something that actually benefits the majority of citizens, such as improving infrastructure. Or, maybe, some of it could be used for prison reform. Prisons could become more like those in other countries, where prisoners are taught life skills and are rehabilitated, so that they don’t wind up back in a prison when they are finally released. There are so many ways that money could benefit the country, and keeping people in prison for marijuana is not one of them.

Safety.

Nonviolent drug

Most commonly, marijuana has a relaxing effect on users. It doesn’t hype people up the same way other substances do, such as alcohol. Many have heard, seen, or been a part of drunken fights, but violence induced by marijuana is a very rare occurrence. When it does occur, it is because of some type of fear or paranoia that causes a sudden rush. Apart from this, there has been no direct causation established between marijuana use and violence.

Knowing what you buy

If it is sold from a legitimate dispensary, there’s less of a chance of it being laced with something dangerous, such as harder drugs. Lacing is a technique that can be used by dealers to get weed-smokers addicted to harder drugs without them even knowing. This is clearly dangerous, and is something that can be controlled better by legalizing weed and selling it from a dispensary.

Just like everything else that is sold, there would have to be labels indicating what strain it is, maybe what the common side effects of using that strain are, the %THC, and other information that will make it safer to buy from a dispensary than on the streets.

Overdosing

Weed also is not a drug from which one can overdose. There are no recorded deaths from a marijuana overdose. According to the National Cancer Institute, it isn’t even possible to overdose on weed because marijuana affects pathways in the boy called “cannaboid receptors,” which do not affect breathing. Therefore, no matter how much one ingests, marijuana cannot cause someone to stop breathing.

Other statistics show that someone would have to ingest about 40,000 times the amount of marijuana that is typically consumed in order to die. While one can take too much of it, overdosing is not a possibility.

 

In addition to these, there are many other reasons behind legalizing weed. This includes the fact that weed can be taxed if it is legally sold, and the tax revenue can be used to help communities. For example, the money collected from taxing weed can be used to improve schools – new textbooks, new computers, fixing health concerns in the school, and many other issues can be addressed if schools had more money; this is one way to find more money for schools. There are also medicinal purposes behind using marijuana, such as a sleep-aid, an anxiety relief substance, and it even has uses in treating more serious conditions, such as Crohn’s disease.

 

 

 

A Platform for Change

As technology becomes increasingly relevant in the twenty-first century, the circulation of thought is increasing in speed and efficiency, allowing ideas to spread from person to person, then state to state, and sometimes, even country to country, within a matter of days. The movement I have chosen to delve into, the anti-rape culture/sexual assault on campus movement, uses the power of online platforms in several ways, one of which is to provide an anonymous way for victims to reach out and speak about sexual assault without disclosing their identity. On platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, victims can discuss their feelings with others who understand what they are going through, and talk about how to cope with post traumatic stress and anxiety that prevent them from reaching out or talking about what happened to the police or school authorities. Another way this movement uses online platforms is to reach out to people about different gatherings, marches, and protests that are happening across the country such as the Anti-Rape Marches and Slut Walks in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, and several other large metropolitan areas. Facebook groups, especially, are conducive to bringing people together for these events because once one person clicks the “Interested” or “Going” buttons, all of their Facebook friends can see this, and the event instantly gains exposure to all of their hundreds/thousands of friends. In this way, the word gets out quickly, and suddenly, after a mere two days of the event’s online fruition, hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to it, and many of them will decide to attend.it.jpg

Media is also incredibly important to my movement, in that humans, by nature, are visual beings, and photographs and videos tend to appeal to their emotions more than just words. Personally, I feel very empowered when I see pictures on Instagram and Tumblr of women holding up signs that say things like, “I was wearing this when I was raped”, while they are dressed in a simple tee-shirt and jeans, implying that rape has nothing to do with the victim’s clothing, provocative or not. It is NEVER the victim’s fault. Because such visuals are so powerful, I will include many on my webpage, especially on the home tab, in order to catch visitor’s attentions and appeal to their pathos the same way that Instagram posts from the marches appealed to mine.

A Movement for a Voice

Advocacy, to me, is the power of having my voice be heard as a collective voice that speaks for those who have been silenced. While one voice alone may seem small and weak amidst the voice or actions of the opposition, it has the power to ignite a change and act as an impetus for the beginning of a larger movement. A wildfire cannot start without an initial spark, and that spark is the power of just one or two voices. When I think of movements, I generally think of protests, marches, sit-downs, and the introduction of newfound social and political justice. I also think of the unyielding power of group-thought and hundreds or thousands of people standing together to fight for a common cause. Personally, I am greatly interested (and have even been involved) in movements that advocated against sexual assault and rape culture on college campuses across America. Some examples of the anti-sexual assault movements have occurred at various universities such as the protests against rape at Syracuse University in 2014, the mattress carrying at Columbia University as a response to the sexual assault of student Emma Sulkowicz (“Carry That Weight”), and the marches at Dartmouth College that aided in the implementation of new school-wide sexual violence mandates. Although I am also interested in other movements, such as the Gay Rights and Marriage Equality movement and the recent Women’s March on Washington, the anti-rape movement is the closest to my heart and the movement that I have been most diligently following since it’s inception. I see many, many benefits from this movement, such as the implementation of more harsh consequences for sexual offenders, support groups for those who have been affected by sexual violence, and the mandates of anti-sexual violence education classes on campus. A challenge to this movement that I can imagine will continue to be a challenge moving forward is the stigma that surrounds sexual assault. Many women (and men) are afraid to report a sexual assault because they are afraid that they will be victim blamed and there will only be scarlet letter shame for them instead of justice. This is why many victims internalize the pain and post traumatic stress that comes after sexual assault instead of talking about it to a professional or reporting it to police. However, I hope that through the continued push of the movement, this stigma will be mitigated, and victims will not be afraid to speak out, while offenders will be rightly punished.

-Katie Kornienko.

Welcome to Honors English 110!

Hello and welcome to the course website for Honors English 110-088, Creating Identity and Advocating Change on the College Campus! We’ll be using this site to post informally about our work as well as to comment on each others’ ideas and contributions. Please feel free to get creative on our blog– use images, write bulleted lists, use gifs, use tags, write descriptive titles, and do whatever else you want (within reason) to make your posts your own.

You will also find here important information about our course. The Canvas site is still your go-to for the syllabus, materials I post, turning in your assignments, and grades. Here on WordPress, we have links to other useful websites, our course description and blogging assignment, and of course our class community.

Happy blogging!