‘It’s a sign of the times’

Washington and Colorado both passed bills Tuesday that legalized recreational consumption of marijuana statewide.

Though marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law, the milestone law allows its citizens to grow, buy and sell marijuana under Amendment 64.

Keith Lepak, an associate professor of political science at Youngstown State University, said he is interested to see how the courts will react to the bills.

“If it were to go to the Supreme Court, federal law would probably veto state law, but it’s an open question as to how the courts will react to this,” Lepak said.

Lepak said the amendment reflects the character of the voters and the culture of the states.

The bills may not affect YSU students, but the news has stirred up a reaction from many of them.

“It’s a sign of the times,” said Jacob Cvetich, a graduate student studying engineering. “It’s being compared to things like alcohol and hard drugs and is being viewed as more acceptable.”

Music education major Tyler Matthews supports the bills.

“It’s cool that it is being legalized for social use,” Matthews said. “It’s one more thing that can be taxed to reduce [the states’] deficits and less people getting arrested for possession of it.”

Junior geology major Ron Forte, an advocate for marijuana legalization, said he was excited to hear about the passing of Amendment 64.

“I think it’s a sign that our nation is progressing and at a very fast rate,” Forte said. “Our nation is finally starting to come to the realization that marijuana has its place in our society and that it’s going to be around forever.”

Lee Beitzel, a dance management student, said she has been considering moving to Colorado after graduation.

“It was an idea before, and this makes it even more of a possibility,” Beitzel said.

Beitzel said she thinks if Ohio passed a similar law that more young people would stay in the state instead of relocating.

Joan Boyd, a professor of health science, said questions still remain about the safety of marijuana, regardless of its legal status.

“I’m not convinced the drug is safe enough for that kind of consumption,” Boyd said. “Inhaling any foreign substance into the lungs is harmful, and there are so many unknowns yet to be answered.”

Boyd said she supports the use of marijuana for medical purposes.