Experts discuss both sides of marijuana legalization with students

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Marijuana continues to slowly get legalized state by state, but will it ever happen nationwide?

That's something many people are waiting to see, especially young adults.

According to the national institute on drug abuse, they make up about 11 million of the population who had partaken of the substance back in 2015.

Marijuana has continued to grow very popular among men and women 18 to 25 years old.

"It's legal in some states already, so it's definitely a topic of conversation, especially for young people," said Villma Guzman.

Laredo College associate student organization president Villma Guzman says there's a stigma around the discussion of legalizing marijuana.

"These things have to be brought up because some of us were raised in the environment of, ‘oh, you don't talk about it.’"

Students were given the opportunity to talk about the controversial topic and ask questions to experts on both sides of the debate.

The man for legalization is a retired LA county detective who's part of a non-profit that educates the public about the harms of drug prohibition, the importance of drug policy, and criminal justice reform.

"When you legalize cannabis you're not just throwing the barn door open and just letting everything happen the way it happens,” said Nick Morrow, pro legalization. “It's a regulated market. There are licensing, applications, there's backgrounds and different government agencies overseeing the whole thing."

The man against is a former New York times reporter and award-winning author who uses research and informal evidence to warn students about the effects marijuana can have on your physical health.

"This can be a dangerous drug for a lot of people, and it can worsen severe mental illness, possibly cause it in some cases if we're going to legalize this drug,” said Alex Berenson, against legalization. “It's a decision you should make carefully and not pretend that this is not potentially harmful for a lot of people."

Aside from listening to the debate, students were also able to be a part of the conversation by creating research projects surrounding different topics involving marijuana.

"Allow the students to do the research on the various topics that you see here, regarding the use and the early use of hemp and marijuana, from the early days all the way to the pros and cons of its use,” said Doctor Horacio Salinas, Dean of LC Arts & Sciences.

The college says they wanted to have students learn about the topic so they can create an educated decision on where they stand.

We asked you, the viewers, on the KGNS Facebook page whether or not you’re for or against the legalization of marijuana. The results show that 6,000 people voted towards legalization and 880 people voted against it.

Thank you to those for taking part.