Penn State students from New Jersey share thoughts on legalization of marijuana

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On Nov. 3, New Jersey legalized the use of recreational marijuana after a majority of citizens voted in favor of the legislation.

The legislation allows people over 21 to smoke and purchase marijuana without medical reasoning. Additionally, the legislation also voted in favor of a 6.625% tax on marijuana, which is expected to significantly help the economy of New Jersey.

Sarah White believes the legalization of marijuana is a good thing, if the state can regulate who has access to it.

“I do think it is a good idea in [regard] for the people that have mental conditions or people who would use it in a healthy manner,” White (freshman-hospitality management) said.

Sierra Sharma also thought the legalization or marijuana would help people be safer.

“If you regulate [weed], it will definitely prevent instances of bad things happening with bad strains,” Sharma (sophomore-finance) said.

Simran Mukhi agreed, and thought it was a step in the right direction.

However, Mukhi expressed concerns about the regulations of marijuana.

“With a new legalization of marijuana, we are going to have to have new laws created to keep it in check,” Mukhi (freshman-engineering science) said. “There are a lot of pros and cons with it, and if we have the right regulation with it, it is the right way to go.”

Mukhi also thought it would help boost the economy since even without the legislation, marijuana was being distributed “in black markets.”

Brandon Rtitweger also believes the legislation will have positive effects on the economy.

“A lot of pop up shops selling weed will start to flourish,” Rittweger (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said.

Joey David and Maria Weck had similar thoughts.

“I think it’s a good thing for us, because we can tax it and help boost our economy since it is not really thriving right now because of COVID,” David (freshman-communications sciences and disorders) said.

Weck (senior-biobehavioral health) said she was expecting this for a while now and is happy about the legalization.

“I think it will be good for revenue, good for the state and it will help with the stigma a lot since people won’t be as against it,” Weck said.

Nick Mantone echoed David’s ideas.

“I think it [the economy] is going to boom,” Mantone (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said. “I would tell people to invest in mairjuana dispensaries. It is a huge industry and a lot of people use it.”

Along with the economy reaping benefits, students such as Cade Helfrich thought the state of New Jersey would also see positive effects.

“I think it is a good move just because [New Jersey has] been trying to pass it for a few years now,” Helfrich (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said. “Our state spends a lot of money on finding and busting marijuana, so it’s going to save the state a lot of money.”

While many students favored the decision to legalize marijuana, others felt differently.

Joseph Dempsey disagreed with the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey.

“In general, I don’t agree with it. There are negative health effects that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has cited,” Dempsey (sophomore-architectural engineering) said. “If some people use it for anxiety, there are other ways to deal with it other than marijuana.”

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