A Project for Better Journalism chapter

A Blunt Review of the High Rate of Marijuana Usage

We’ve all walked through the hallways and gotten a good whiff of weed. For those who were as
innocent as I was when I first walked into Perry Hall as a freshman and didn’t know what that foul smell was, it’s a joint smell between skunk and pine. To be entirely honest, it took me well into 9th grade to figure out that weed and marijuana are in fact the exact same thing. The highs of high school
aren’t enough for teenagers to be satisfied, and they will use other means to get that thrill.


Weed has been very common in the U.S. since the 1960’s and 1970’s during the hippie period when people advocated for peace rather than war. Many TV shows like Scooby Doo hinted at the use of marijuana with characters like Shaggy to show the hipster lifestyle for comedic purposes. Many celebrities in pop culture like Bob Marley and Woody Harrelson are known for their welcoming opinion on weed. According to WebMD, more than 1 in 3 Americans have reported to have tried weed at one point in their life.


Weed can be smoked through a blunt or a bong, or cooked in food. Some people use weed as a social drug at parties while others use it to relax their nerves. The active ingredient, THC, reacts in people’s bodies to give them a high feeling. Some effects of weed include a faster heart rate and lower blood pressure. Weed is not nearly as addictive as heroin or cocaine, but almost 10% of users have reported to become dependent on it based off of WebMD statistics and findings.


An anonymous poll was taken amongst three English classes in Perry Hall High: standard, honors, and AP. Questions were made specific to those who either do or don’t smoke or consume edibles. Some students reported taking weed as early as age 12. The average age was about 14 years old among the 15 people that reported taking weed. Headaches, period cramps, lack of appetite, passage of time, mood control, anxiety, and stress relief are all reasons why the polled teens are involved with marijuana. Out of the 15 students who smoke or consume edibles, only one reported to use marijuana for medical purposes. More than half of the students (8/15) have gotten caught with marijuana. At Perry High – I mean Hall – officers charge students with a civil offense with possession of marijuana; this basically means you get a ticket for smoking. However, the 2014 Legislative session in the Maryland General Assembly passed a Senate Bill stating that possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana is a criminal offense.


Anyone who parks in the senior parking lot has probably observed the daily crowd that visits the weed
forest. Many students will meet their friends after they get off of the bus in the morning. Students walk past the teacher, through the crosswalk, and into the weed forest to get a little early energy boost. We all know exactly what they are doing, and I can tell you that I’ve seen kids practically run to the woods to get their early morning buzz. Now, that’s not to say that all of Perry Hall students are potheads. Twenty-one out of the 36 students who participated in the poll have not been involved with weed.


Twenty-nine percent of the polled students that don’t use weed have felt pressured at some point in their life to use the drug. Students explained that they don’t take part in using weed due to their parental influence, minimal interest, health risks, drug tests for jobs, and the fear of not knowing the side effects. However, just because these students don’t use marijuana doesn’t mean they are completely innocent. Underage drinking and reckless driving were some of the activities described in which some of the weed-free students take part. Several of the students also admitted to not being against using weed in the future, but only a small portion.


To put it bluntly, weed is a problem at Perry Hall. However, it’s a problem at every high school.
The issue usually starts in high school with a few starting earlier in middle school. Now all these statistics and numbers are pretty dope, and I’m betting my statistics teacher is analyzing my polling skills, but this is only a small sample from the school.  This represents the classes tested and not the school as a whole. Many states, such as Colorado, have legalized marijuana with others that have followed the precedent. Let’s just say that if Maryland ever legalizes it, weed know.