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MARIJUANA: AN EXPLAINER

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WE ARE HERE TO HELP, COLLEGE COACHES

Joel Auerbach

1. What is "marijuana?"

According to the Department of Justice, "marijuana is a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug, produced by the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana contains over 480 constituents. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is believed to be the main ingredient that produces the psychoactive effect."

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2. What does marijuana look like?

About Parenting says "marijuana resembles tobacco. It can be green, brown or gray in color. It is the dried leaves, flowers and stems of the cannabis plant. It may be shredded or crumbled, which is how it looks when it is getting ready to be smoked. Or it could be in a dried bud form, as it is before it is prepared to be smoked. Sometimes teens will create a blunt out of a hollowed out cigar filled with marijuana and another drug like crack."

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3. How does marijuana affect the body?

Per WebMD:

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It is important to note, however, that physiological and psychological responses to any controlled substance can vary
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.4. Is marijuana legal?

23 states and the District of Columbia permit the use of marijuana for some medicinal purposes, and about a dozen states have taken steps to reduce the penalties for simple possession of marijuana to exclude incarceration. Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it is considered to be have "no acceptable medical use." In states where low-level possession and consumption of marijuana is legal, the Drug Enforcement Agency has declared that it will not pursue offenses that do not involve violence or gang activity.

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5. What are the consequential effects of marijuana criminalization?

This enforcement of a problem at the federal level encourages the militarization of our local police. The natural result of this heightened preparation for a non-existent threat is a real violence. That real violence manifests itself in the form of police brutality against many normal, hard-working, respectable citizens.

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6. What has happened in states that have decriminalized marijuana?

In Colorado, where marijuana has been fully decriminalized, usage rates among adolescents have actually declined. This will benefit Colorado in the long run as teenagers focus on their studies, improve graduation rates, and thus enrich the local workforce and economy.

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7. What would the benefits of marijuana decriminalization be for non-users?

Besides the reduced costs to police, court systems, and correctional departments, some studies suggest that the tax revenue collected from legal marijuana commerce could range from $200 million to over $1.3 billion. Colorado's Office of State Planning and Budgeting estimates it took in $19 million in revenue from marijuana sales in the first half of 2014, though many of those sales were to out-of-state consumers who traveled to Colorado.

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8. Is there a marijuana epidemic?

Shut up.

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