In the midst of the midterm elections, Americans are beginning to speak up about their opinion on the youth of today, where the country is headed, and their hopes to legalize marijuana use, according to a recent poll.
The results of the poll, conducted by students at the New York University Arthur Carter Journalism Institute suggest that regardless of political affiliation, those surveyed are unanimously in favor of the legalization of marijuana use throughout the nation.
Although opinions differ on whether or not it should be legalized for medical purposes as well as for recreational use, many people polled compared the use of marijuana to that of cigarettes and alcohol, suggesting that there is little difference in harm among the three. “I think it should be legalized because I think it creates even less harmful behavior than alcohol,” said Richard Saunders, 24, a musician from Connecticut.
Similarly, Elliott Skinner, 20, a New York City based jazz musician questioned how marijuana is any different than cigarettes: “What is the benefit of cigarettes being legal?” he asked, “The only reason they’re legal is because people are making money off of it. They’re terrible for you, everyone knows it, no one’s denying it, yet we have this thriving business based on this thing that’s terrible for you and it’s kind of the opposite with marijuana…as far as it being harmful, there are so much more harmful things than weed. The amount of things we put in our food, the amount of things that we eat and drink and put into our bodies already, one more drug is not going to make any difference” he said.
Claudia Ornelas, 58, a court interpreter from Mexico agreed that the use of marijuana should be legalized medically, and then proposed that recreational smoking should be contained in designated areas, suggesting that by doing this, crime rates would decrease.
In addition, some people like Madeline Wall, 18, a student from Santa Barbara, CA, explained how they thought it would help the financial climate of the country. “I think it should be legalized. I think, first of all you can tax it, and that would bring money in, and second of all it’s just already so prevalent in the country so you might as well just legalize it at this point, and stop just trying to halt something that’s already there.”
Of the people polled many were unimpressed by President Barack Obamas performance in office thus far, and were skeptical about where the country was headed. “I think we’re heading down,” said Raz, 42, a musician living on the Lower East Side. “Look at our economy. Look at the unemployment rate. Look at welfare, welfare where it is is at an all time high right now. The middle class is almost, if not, non existent. You’re either rich or you’re poor – you’re working to keep up paying your bills or you don’t have to work at all” he said.
Others, like Megan L, 21, questioned the country’s international affairs. “Domestically I think we’re doing okay, but in terms of our international efforts and our standing in war and things like that, I think that we could do better,” she said.
The majority of the people polled also had a negative opinion on the outlook of the youth of today. “I feel sorry for them,” said Peter Laverne, a freelance writer living in New York. “The economy has serious problems, we have perpetual planned wars that never end, and on and on…But then you know, it’s good to be young, so it’s all balanced out” he chuckled.
Even members of the millennial era were worried about the direction and legacy of their own generation. JT Neal, 20, a Texas born actor living in California, was one of those polled. “The youth of today… it’s pretty awful. I feel like they don’t respect their elders, I feel like they don’t respect the country that they live in, they don’t appreciate what they’ve been given, they all feel very entitled. And I feel like they’re more of a social breed as opposed to a thoughtful breed, they kind of just do whatever the crowd says is cool, and they don’t really consider the options, they kind of just jump in head first, and I think that’s pretty dangerous,” he said.
One of the greatest issues found from the results of the poll, is that even with the problems many have with the government, our economy, and the direction of the country, very few voted in the midterm elections. A stunning 80 percent of those polled said that they did not vote in the midterm elections all for various reasons.
So, although a stunning 100 percent of those surveyed agree on the legalization of marijuana, in different levels of availability, very few have invested in the more pressing and abstract issues.
With Colorado being the first state to legalize marijuana in 2012, and both Alaska and Oregon recently getting on board, the country is working to be on its way to nationwide legalization, however, helping the direction of our country and the youth of today, is still lacking committed citizens.