Florida A&M University has made itself an educator on the usage and legalities of cannabis. FAMU students are acquainted with the frequent FAMU INFO email messages on the statistics and facts that regarding marijuana and how to avoid conflicts that may arise. Marijuana use has become wildly popular over the course of the past 10-20 years.
Although still an illegal Schedule I drug, 15 states have made marijuana legal for people over the age of 21 and 36 states have made medical marijuana legal. According to a poll done by Pew Research, 67 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should be legalized. This is an overwhelming majority considering the incarceration rate for those who are found with marijuana on their person. Voters primarily have been in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana, but the federal and local governments have continued to enforce the law as they deem fit. A 2020 study by the American Civil Liberties Union says that Black people are 3.64 times more susceptible to being arrested for marijuana than white people.
“As a political science student, when you consider the history of the prohibition of cannabis it boils down to the criminalization of certain communities and the falsifying of information about cannabis,” said fourth-year student Jamal Carty. “Since the release of ‘Reefer Madness’ in 1936, the damages have reverberated throughout our society for generations. When people tried to change this narrative they were vilified as drug addicts and hippies. Along with people who disagreed with the war in Vietnam, cannabis has been used as a scapegoat to hide the true problems we face in the conversations about drugs in this society.”
Despite these disparities, FAMU has provided a safe place for students to discuss their experiences if any with marijuana and their personal feelings about it as it relates to their life on and off campus.
Third-year student Rodderick Potter says that cannabis usage should be left up to the individual if they want to be around it or not.
“I do not feel as if people use cannabis and do things that are negative to themselves or people around them,” Potter said. “There is no direct correlation and many people have been incarcerated on a basis that was completely unfair and unjust on a moral level. In some cases people are trying to simply feed their families or enjoy a past-time.”
The conversation around cannabis continues as people debate its usage and effects.