Hash, weed, pot, herb, grass, ganja, skunk. All monikers of the widely illegal substance marijuana.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in the United States.
In 2005, approximately 14.6 million Americans were using the drug, whether recreationally or for medicinal purposes.
The study also showed that over two million people smoked for the first time, a number that also included 12th graders with 42.3 percent admitting to smoking marijuana.
Public figures were also caught using the illegal substance.
Al Gore III, son of former president elect and renowned environmentalist Al Gore II, was arrested on the fourth of July for speeding while under the influence of marijuana and other narcotics.
Tyrone Creal, 20, a junior criminal justice student from Tampa, admits to smoking weed in the past. He thought it was good when he was first doing it, but does not like smoking anymore.
“I haven’t smoked in the past two and a half years because I started to get my life straight and school,” Creal said. “It messes up life’s plans.”
Creal said that it was natural for a lot of students to smoke marijuana because they are away from home with no supervision.
“I seen students and I know students who smoke,” Creal said. “They are off by themselves and there are no rules because they’re by themselves and there’s no one to tell them right from wrong.”
Felicia Perry, 20, a junior psychology student from Palm Beach said that students smoke marijuana because it is becoming more of a norm in the community.
“Some people don’t consider marijuana a drug,” Perry said. “I consider crack cocaine, crystal meth, and ecstasy drugs.”
Perry said that students smoke marijuana because it is less dangerous than other drugs that cause greater physical and mental damage.
She said that marijuana is grown from the earth and other drugs are man-made.
“A lot of college students smoke weed because it’s less harmful than other drugs,” Perry said. “You never hear people cutting their throat or selling their body for weed.”
Most people have a negative impression of marijuana but Courtney Jenkins, 21, a senior student in business administration from Plant City, Fla. said some people she knows tend to excel in school that smoke weed.
“Some people in my classes smoke weed before a test and they score higher than me on the test,” Jenkins said. “I have heard that if you study high and take the test high that you would do good.”
Unlike Jenkins, Tanya Patum, Director of Student Health Services at FAMU said that marijuana impairs students rather then helping them with their classes.
“It interferes with students ability to think clearly,” Tatum said.” It interferes with students reaction time with education.”
Dee Brooks, 21, a senior psychology student from Auburn Alabama does not think it is common for a college student to smoke marijuana.
“It’s a choice that they choose to make,” said Brooks. “I don’t think it is a culture thing.”
Brooks does not think that people who smoke marijuana can blame anyone else for their habit but themselves.
“You can’t blame it on anything just like smoking cigarettes,” said Brooks. “People want to experiment.”