When you analytically break down the logistics of each issue, most people will come to the conclusion that a potential alcohol tax increase would be more beneficial than legalizing marijuana. The person I interviewed is a Denver student who is medically prescribed to marijuana. He agreed to the interview under one condition; his name had to be kept anonymous.
This student has been a marijuana cardholder for the last three years. His opinion regarding marijuana legalization lies somewhere between senator Tancredo’s and Hickenlooper’s political agenda. He believes marijuana should be prescribed to anyone who has a LEGITIMENT health issue which can be accommodated by marijuana. “As much as I and several other college students would benefit and take advantage of the legalization of pot, I don’t think it should be totally legalized because that will only result in more marijuana experimentation for people who don’t need it.” This student has legitimate anxiety issues and has used marijuana to compensate.
When asked about the significance of a potential alcohol tax increase, the student said “that sounds good on paper, but you can pitch anything to sound good on paper.” He thinks people will take the tax proposal more seriously if accommodation is provided to the restaurant and beverage industries; they are the two businesses that will suffer the most if a tax increase is enacted.
His rational for why the legalization of marijuana generates more attention than a tax increase is because it’s so close to being enacted. Right now, there are about 20 senatorial candidates in favor of legalizing marijuana and 10 opposing it. “Perhaps professors should take advantage of the spot light being on marijuana. Take time to alter the proposal by finding accommodation for the beverage and restaurant industries while still saving millions in health care and generating millions in revenue.”
Me being biased and having my own agenda, I countered his argument by stating that on average, an alcoholic who consumes less alcohol would be a greater beneficiary compared to a marijuana card holder. He responded by rearranging his words from his initial answer. “We’ve had alcohol tax increases in the past, never have we had marijuana being fully legal. Provide accommodation then we’ll talk.” He never denied that a tax increase would have more positive results than legalizing marijuana. He just stated a rational for why things were the way they were.
The path he took to attaining a marijuana medical card started his freshman year of college. He had such bad anxiety, and it reached its peak the night before a final. “I was sitting at my desk studying, and all of a sudden I wasn’t able to breath. I knew right their that I needed help.” When he discussed his anxiety with a psychiatrist, the proposal of trying marijuana arose. “We initially discussed anti-depressants, but came to the conclusion that that was a bad fit.” He says the hardest thing was to sell the parents on the idea. “They were skeptical at first, but after discussing it with the psychiatrist and reviewing statistics, they reluctantly agreed to it.”
He says the most difficult part was disaffiliating smoking with rest of his social activities. “Throughout high school and the beginning of college I would smoke socially, but when academics came into the picture, it changed my perspective. I had to remind myself that I’m not doing this for fun. I need this to succeed.” Under his first quarter being prescribed he earned a 3.1 G.P.A., which was almost three points higher than his average at the time. “Through trial & error, I was able to find a routine that works.” How much he smokes revolves around the workload. He smokes less when there is less work and vice versa. He now has a 3.4 G.P.A.
Another tough aspect of being prescribed is not giving into peer pressure by reselling. “I try to keep my prescription on the down-low (hence why he wanted his name kept anonymous), people don’t understand that I’m not smoking socially and they become bitter when I don’t sell to them.” He made light of situation when he said “sometimes I do wish it was legal, that way my buddies can stop giving me grief for not selling to them.”
His final burn on the marijuana legalization/alcohol tax increase stated, “both issues need a resolution, but you can’t get everything solved at once. After elections, we’ll have a clearer idea for what issues need more attention. By then, hopefully a legitimate alcohol tax proposal is introduced.”