Survey results shows divided student opinion on legalization of marijuana

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20141026-marijuana_survey_overall

By NICOLE SMART, ELSIE ILMAR, and DANA SLWOOKO, staff writers

A Hawk Highlights survey shows Galena high school students divided between approving or rejecting legalization of marijuana, with most girls responding that they would keep the drug illegal and most boys saying they would make it legal.

The Hawk Highlights surveyed 57 students between Oct. 21 to Oct. 23 and asked them whether or not the state of Alaska should legalize the recreational use of marijuana, an issue facing voters in Ballot Measure 2 on Nov. 4.

In the survey, nine girls said yes to legalization and 14 said no. Among the boys, 17 said yes and nine said no. Six girls and two boys were undecided.

Legalization received a total of 26 yes votes, 23 no votes, and eight were undecided. There are 244 students at the school.

Most of the people against legalization said they were concerned about the health impact and the social problems it would cause.

“I think the world is bad enough,” said a freshman girl. “We don’t want to make the world worse by legalizing that stuff.”

A sophomore boy said, “I think it would make everyone stupid.”

A junior girl was worried about what would happen back home. “If Alaska was to legalize marijuana, my home village would be going crazy and it would be too much.”

Those in favors of legalization said often compared its impact to alcohol and believed that crime rates would go down.

“It’s not as bad as alcohol. There has been more deaths from drinking than smoking marijuana,” said a sophomore girl.

Another sophomore girl said, “Legalization will make the crime percentage go down and also the state could tax it.”

A sophomore boy said, “Marijuana can affect you in good ways. It has a lot of medical uses. It has been proven to stop seizures.”

Eight students were undecided.

Three staff writers from the Hawk Highlights talked with students individually and alone on both campuses and in the residence hall Oct. 21-23.

Students were given the same question facing Alaska voters, and every student was asked to explain the reason for his or her answer.

The full results of the survey can be found here.