UNM students have different feelings about recreational weed
Albuquerque has made millions of dollars in profits from the cannabis industry since recreational sales began on Friday, April 1 after the drug was legalized last summer. This change elicited a variety of reactions from students at the University of New Mexico, ranging from indifference to opposition to support.
Katy McCarter, a UNM student studying elementary education, said she doesn’t really mind legalization because she doesn’t personally use cannabis, but it can be used to help others relax and to relax, which is especially important for students.
“A lot of people are stressed out about school, so, I mean, smoking here and there would probably relax you a bit (because) I know college can be stressful and just taking a puff would chill everything “said McCarter.
However, McCarter doesn’t want people using drugs on campus, which isn’t allowed anyway.
Will Martinez, a student of English literature and film history and criticism, said he had mixed views on legalization and that the solution to the problems associated with the criminalization of cannabis, such as mass incarceration and the stigma surrounding convicted criminals, goes beyond mere legalization.
“While I support (legalization) in concept, I don’t really support it in execution because I don’t feel comfortable supporting the industry…especially since we see that a majority of these dispensaries are owned by white people and any criminal charges (not) prevent you from participating in the industry,” Martinez said.
According to an article by KOB4, although these prior convictions are taken into consideration when obtaining a license. Among the top executives of 14 of the largest cannabis companies in the United States and Canada, 70% are white men, according to a article from Business Intern.
Maika Gray, an environmental science student at UNM, said cannabis should be legalized, citing the prohibition era as an example of why criminalization doesn’t work.
“I think we should legalize it. Anyway, everyone smokes. It’s a bit like everything (the ban). It just creates more organized crime and stuff, so I think it’s better to just legalize it,” Gray said.
Senate Bill 2, passed and signed into New Mexico law on April 12, 2021, removes any record of a cannabis-related charge that is no longer a crime under the new bill. The expungement has taken place or will take place either automatically after the enactment of the bill or, if two years have not elapsed from the date of the arrest or the conviction, two years after the date of the conviction or the date of arrest in cases where there was no conviction.
Martinez views the expungement and exemption as something that should have happened before legalization.
“Of course, it’s something that can still be done even now after legalization…but, in general, I think (the concept of legalization) is a good thing,” Martinez said.
Gray said money from cannabis sales could directly affect students if the money from sales helps education, like in Colorado. The first $40 million in cannabis taxes goes to public schools in Colorado, according to the Colorado Legislature.
“I know the economy benefits a lot (from legalization) like in Colorado… That, in turn, can help education with all the money coming in,” Gray said.
Generally, however, McCarter does not anticipate the law change will affect his daily life. In the end, she said, it was “the same thing; just more pot shops are opening.
Martinez expressed an opposing view, however, as he said that “there’s really no way” the law change wouldn’t have an effect on his day-to-day life.
“No matter what we mean, a lot of people smoke weed,” Martinez said. “It’s going to affect people around me and people’s access to it.”
John Scott is the editor of the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter @JScott050901