Weeds in the Grass

How marijuana affects the community at Bryant High School


Devyn Summons

Local marajuana dispensary Custom Cannabis, near Alexander

Jasper Robertson, Staff Writer

    Arrests for marijuana possession have increased in Arkansas almost 50% since 2010, even with the introduction of the medical card. With the high rates comes the introduction of the bill to make weed recreationally legal. With these bills comes the question on just how much weed affects the community of Bryant High School. 

    An anonymous source, who I will call Jane, has been smoking for 3 years, and says it has let her relieve stress, sleep better, and ease the chronic pain that her illnesses cause. It does cause negative effects as well.

“The only time it restricts me is when I overdo it because then all I want to do is sleep,” She said. “Sometimes I get a headache, but that depends on what strain I smoke.”

    Jane realizes how it can negatively affect others as well.

    “It definitely [can be a gateway drug], but anything can be if you want to consider it as one.” she said. “Addrall and SSRIS, or really any anti-depressant, can lead to pill addictions, such as xanax or opioids. Weed could cause someone to want to try acid or shrooms, but over the counter cough syrup can do that as well. It truly depends on the person – if they want to try harder drugs they will, if they don’t, they’ll stick to weed.”

An anonymous teacher, who I’ll call Mr. John, doesn’t believe that weed is a gateway drug.

”I think that the drug scene is a gateway scene,” he said. “The drug itself does not elicit stronger drug use, but I am sure those who surround themselves with a drug culture can certainly bring on the availability of stronger drugs.”

Mr. Jones was also a coach, and has handled drug use differently over his years.

”For some, they came into the program as a user and I used that opportunity to get them help or counseling for their problem,” he said. “Others used drugs after understanding the rules to the program, so they faced a suspension. Others failed multiple tests, so they were removed from the team. Some, at the high school level, faced school related suspensions and punishments.

When it does come to punishments, Mr. John doesn’t think everything can use the same rule. 

 “I think that you cannot have a general, blanket rule that doesn’t allow for discernment from the teacher, coach, counselor, principal, and/or parent. Consistency yes, but a blanket rule is dangerous. Our own legal system understands that.”

    Dailan Patel, Bryant alumni, now has a medical card and is a self-proclaimed ‘cannabis influencer’.

    “I started smoking at 13 but didn’t get really into it until 17.” He said. “I started smoking because it helps me deal with a lot of past trauma and also helps my autism extremely. Weed also helped me have better sleep since I usually have nightmares keeping me up”

    Patel realizes the negative stigma that surrounds smoking weed.

“I have been restricted a lot due to weed.” He said. “Because it’s still federally illegal, cops, or people in general, have a lot of problems with people who smoke weed. I know I have gotten in a lot of trouble because of it, even when I got a medical card to be allowed to smoke.”

Mr. John doesn’t wish he students would need weed, but he understands it can help them.

”As a teacher and a couch, I would hope that none of my athletes and students would have the desire or necessity to use any kind of drug; however, if it is legal, then it would just be an opinion,” he said. “I do not think athletes or students should use anything that damages them, but again, amrijuana is a medical substance that, under a doctor’s care, could be highly beneficial. I just don’t trust street level drugs for anyone, but I do agree that marijuana should be legal.”

Now that he is out of school, Patel has made a career off of cannabis. He dropped out of UCA to enroll in a cannabis school, and plans to run a business in the future.

“I truly believe cannabis is a medicine that can help people, and I just want my company to make sure it can provide clean marijuana instead of seeing teeneragers, or even college students, buying street products that could potentially harm them,” he said.

Mr. John also believes that weed can be a good medical option for people.

“I think that marijuna has been demonized by music and movies (as well as the government), but when used properly, is more natural, less addicting, and healthy than many of the prescription drugs that students and parents take,” he said. “The legalization has brought in information and has educated the public. It will take time for the stereotypes and generalization about marijuana and those who use it dwindle away.”