Is ‘welfare weed’ a real problem for America?

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Dewey Mullis

The City Council in Berkeley, California passed a new ordinance that mandates all medical marijuana dispensaries allocate 2 percent of their stock to be distributed to the city’s poor, according to FOX News.

The law would pertain to individuals earning under $32,000 and families of four with an annual income under $46,000. The ordinance does not change the prescription requirement to receive the medicinal marijuana.

The ongoing debate hasn’t changed much since some states legalized recreational marijuana. Some people and organizations hold firm belief that marijuana will someday ruin the nation one brownie mix at a time. Meanwhile, others are cramming said brownies down their throats.

Reserving a percentage of pop stock is nothing new for dispensaries. Instead of using FOX’s term “welfare weed,” it has been referred to as “compassionate distribution.”

The fact of the matter is that it’s not that different from Walmart offering prescriptions to seniors at the low cost of four dollars. It’s a matter of getting people the medicine they need when they can’t afford it.

What makes weed a high concern for many people is the stigma of a substance still classified by the federal government as an illegal drug. The effects are not as dangerous as alcohol and medicines that mimic chemicals, and the effects of marijuana are already on the market. So what is the concern? Stigma.

But like any controversial or potentially dangerous substance, there is an increased level of responsibility when it becomes widely available to the public. My two main concerns are that marijuana will be over-prescribed, leaving us with an abused system, and that free cannabis will become street cannabis with a hefty profit margin.

Marijuana today is not a far cry from alcohol in the early 20th century. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating for willy-nilly joint jamborees or the establishment of designated pot-smoking areas. I’m not even a fan of walking through clouds of cigarette smoke on campus. But, we have to begin accepting a de-stigmatized version of marijuana usage.

Mullis, a senior Criminal Justice major from Wallburg, is an opinion writer.