By Gavin Clark 

One in 17 students report using marijuana 20 or more times in the past 30 days in 2014, according to the University of Michigan. The rate of students who have tried marijuana at least once a month also went up from 17 percent in 2006 to 21 percent in 2014. But even as marijuana use has gone up significantly in colleges across the United States, Lorain County Community College is one of those colleges that haven’t really felt much change in terms of noticeable usage.

“Any activity we see dealing with marijuana use on campus is rare to non-existent. We probably have a couple of incidents a year,” according to Ken Collins, manager of Campus Security at LCCC.

He went on to explain that anyone caught with it would probably have “At least get a year probation.  They wouldn’t be able to have any incidents for a whole year then after that, the whole thing would be forgotten about. Any incidents we do have involving it would be reported to the Elyria Police Department or [we would] deal with the issue through the school’s Code of Conduct,”

“The reason why there may not be a noticeable use is because we are a community college without dorms,” he continued. “We aren’t a typical university where it is more likely to occur,”

Collins went on to say, “The college leans more towards drug prevention rather than punishment by handing out leaflets detailing the problems brought on by drug abuse, as well as referring students to the Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (LCADA).”

Students seem more accepting of the fact that marijuana trumps tobacco use. Devon E. Tidwell, a first-year student of the State-Tested Nurse Aide program, shared the experience of his own use of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, “marijuana can actually help. It should be taxed in moderation. I think it is a better alternative than using something that is far more dangerous health-wise,” Tidwell said.

He also added that he has seen not just from himself but also from family experience that marijuana is far safer than tobacco and that tobacco has caused far more harm. “If you are still responsible by all means go ahead and do it. Just don’t be lazy and give responsible users a bad name.”

Other students are indifferent to the new trend such as lab aide and economics major Ethan Harris who has never really tried marijuana or tobacco. “The use of marijuana around here is not really a big deal, but it is significant. I don’t use either, so it doesn’t really affect me.”

Tobacco has been a substance that has been used by large numbers of people throughout the centuries. It is believed to have originally been cultivated by ancient indigenous tribes of North America. Its use was a driving factor in the settlement of the new world. Smoking tobacco reached its apex with the glamorous yet cheesy ads of the 1950s featuring mascots like the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel. But for every substance, product, or trend that has been set upon by our culture there has always been another substance, product, or trend that the public has never fully understood or has been used as a scapegoat for society’s ills. From violent video games, the Internet, and even shock rocker Marilyn Manson, none has ever been so feared by the public as much as marijuana.

Whatever your feelings when it comes to the weed, there is no doubt that opinions across the nation are changing on both substances.