The war on drugs cost the U.S. billions of dollars, putting countless people in prison for using a plant that has never been the direct cause of a death. 
Nationally, marijuana is becoming accepted and eventually legalized. According to the Pew Research Center, about 60 percent of Americans are pro-legalization of cannabis.
“It's everywhere; it's a huge part of American culture,” said Boston teen Thalia Correll.
According to Vox, marijuana is now legal for recreational use in eight states, Massachusetts being one of them. Legal marijuana helps the buyers and communities by being a healthier alternative to drinking or smoking cigarettes and creates taxes which can be used for repairing faltering infrastructure or towards needed social programs.
Marijuana legalization will not only help the community, it will stimulate the economy. 
“The state-regulated marijuana industry has created tens of thousands of jobs and generated hundreds of millions of dollars for state and local governments,” said Tvert. According to Vox, the marijuana industry in California alone could be worth $5.1 billion by the end of the year. 
“Adult marijuana sales have generated more than half a billion dollars in state tax revenue...more than $225 million has been allocated to the Department of Education to benefit schools,” said Tvert. 
In addition to improving the economy, legalizing marijuana would discourage the use of more dangerous drugs. 
“Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, tobacco and many other legal products,” said Tvert. “Researchers have concluded it has fewer and less severe addictive properties.” In 2014, about 30,000 people died from alcohol use, and the statistics would be much higher if alcohol-induced violence were included. Cigarettes too, present much higher risks than marijuana. According to, 48.5 percent of cancer deaths are tied to smoking cigarettes. Marijuana, on the other hand, has known medical uses and according to the Washington Post, there have been zero deaths from overdoses. 
A common argument against legalization is that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to abuse of more dangerous drugs. Psychiatrist Robert L. DuPont recently penned a New York Times op-ed arguing “people who are addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.” He came to this conclusion largely based on the fact that many heroin addicts have regularly used marijuana as well. However, while there is a correlation between marijuana use and heroin use, in a New York Times piece written by Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance says this does not mean that marijuana users are more likely to use heroin. 
Legalizing marijuana has nothing but positive effects on the community. It will help the economy, allow people to buy safely without being exposed to dangerous people and drugs and provide a healthier alternative to cigarettes and alcohol. The war on marijuana is a complete failure that had severe effects on America, and it is time that it finally came to an end.

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Imagine trying to live your normal life without the most basic human necessity—clean, usable water. In the community of Flint, Michigan, they are going through that exact problem. Large amounts of lead, which is incredibly unhealthy to consume, were found in Flint's tap water in 2014, and the problem remains unresolved.
According to NPR, the crisis began when the state government switched from their previous water system, in which they bought treated water from Detroit, to a new system, taking water from the Flint River in order to save money. However, because the City of Flint rushed to complete the project, they did not properly treat the water. Typical water treatment includes the addition of chemicals like phosphoric acid to the water, in order to prevent corrosion in the pipes and dangerous metals from getting in. Because Flint failed to add this, lead from the pipes leached into the water which citizens used. Many people became sick or more susceptible to illness after using the lead-filled water. No amount of lead in water is safe, and the amount in Flint's water was noticeably above FDA levels.
Additionally, inadequate chlorine in the Flint pipes allowed iron to leach into them. The iron promoted the growth of bacteria, which led to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ spread quickly, becoming the third largest outbreak in the U.S. ever, and the effects were devastating. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 87 people were infected with Legionnaires’, and at least 10 of them died.
 In response to the crisis, the government provided free water bottles to the people of Flint, but in 2017, the Michigan state government cut off this supply, claiming the tap water is safe to use again. Many people are suspicious, and some have downright refused to use the water since they say it is still unclean. Since the cut-off of the free water bottles, Flint community fundraisers have been set up to raise money to help those in need. 
“Flint still doesn’t have clean water!” comedian Michelle Wolf said at the end of White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Also, recently, multi-billionaire Elon Musk has recently tweeted that he will devote himself to helping fix the pipes in Flint. 
However, despite these celebrities attempting to bring awareness back to what is happening, Flint has received barely any news coverage in recent months, though dangerous conditions continue.
“I had forgotten about the crisis,” said Cincinnati teen, Eva Wittenberg. Boston teen Thalia Correll said she had only seen “an occasional tweet about it.” 
It is important that Flint is covered better in news media because important information continues to come out. If you want to help those affected by the Flint water crisis, you can donate to the Flint Water Fund or other charitable organizations or do your best to spread awareness and help give the people of Flint a voice.

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Imagine Boston 2030 Has an Affordable Housing Problem
Imagine Boston 2030 is a plan to fix Boston. 
Boston mayor Marty Walsh wants the city to look better. His plan is to turn Boston into a healthy city with money-saving technology by 2030. Walsh’s idea on housing is really impressive. In the document, “Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030,” the plan states it will help ensure growth and prosperity reaches every corner of Boston. 
“Imagine Boston first came out of Marty Walsh’s mayoral campaign. He was going around talking to residents and heard housing pressure was getting bad,” said Natalia Urtubey, executive director of Imagine Boston 2030. A top priority for Imagine Boston is making housing affordable. As good as this seems, there are pros and cons for housing in the future. 
To accomplish this goal, the city is going to create 53,000 new units of housing at a variety of income levels across the city: 44,000 units of housing for the workforce, 5,000 units of housing for senior citizens, and 4,000 units to stabilize the market and bring rents and housing prices under control. 
Walsh is already doing things for Imagine Boston 2030 to be successful. According to, Walsh announced the Acquisition Opportunity Program, which provides loans to ensure that property owners maintain affordable rent levels for low and middle income families, and maintains current tenants in good standing. The $7.5 million investment is a step towards preserving more affordable housing for Bostonians. 
 Residents in Boston have arguments against the project. They believe housing will still cost more. Most people believe they are going to be forced to out of Boston because they cannot afford to stay. Housing is a problem right now because people are already struggling to maintain an apartment in 2018. According to, in 2018, the average rent in Boston is $3,001 and its goes up 3 percent every year. 
“People are demanding more out of housing today, particularly with the rise in the cost of rents and the short supply of housing,” said Walsh in an interview with Boston Magazine.

We have 12 years until the plan should reach its goals. I am very confident that Walsh set this up perfectly. 
“I want the city to be better than I found it. And I found it in pretty good shape,” said Walsh in a interview with Chris Sweeney.
 I believe this will be the case, but I hope what he speaks shows by 2030. Also, people love Boston because of its diversity and opportunity. They should not have to move out because things are too expensive. 

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Attending Warped Tour 2018 was a dream come true. As a kid who’s been told his music taste was weird—and being asked if I worshipped Satan after showing off a favorite band—being in an atmosphere where my kind of music was celebrated was a welcoming shock. There were loud bands performing to even louder crowds, setting the scene for every angsty kid in his newly acquired “Make America Emo Again” hat. 
Sadly, 2018 marked the final full country run of Warped Tour, for reasons unknown.  Warped Tour is the biggest celebration of alternative rock and roll in the United States, so the final tour went out with a bang, thank to these amazing bands.

Ever had a person in your life who you want to politely ask to stop breathing? Well, MAKEOUT’s debut album, “The Good Life,” is the soundtrack to that feeling. The album is a mix of pop-punk jams with slower, more meaningful songs in between. Standouts include “Crazy,” a ridiculously catchy and original song about a girl who can’t make up her mind, and “Lisa,” an almost comedic track about, you guessed it, a girl named Lisa and why lead singer Sam Boxold is not a fan.  MAKEOUT’s sound is a love letter to bands like All Time Low and All-American Rejects, with songs that feature engaging instrumentals and lyrics that are both catchy and meaningful. With a real garage punk vibe, MAKEOUT is definitely worthy of a place on your playlist.

Doll Skin
If you are looking for something a bit heavier, look no further than Doll Skin.  Boasting a sound that perfectly blends pop with metal and punk, lead singer Sydney Dolezal has a very distinct and powerful voice combined with some of the best rock guitar the scene has to offer. If you needed anymore proof that Doll Skin are some of the coolest girls in rock and roll, their song “Shut Up (You Miss Me)” will put any worries to rest.

Palaye Royale
Palaye Royale is a modern day gothic version of a 70s glam rock, and it slays.  The band’s style is very distinct, looking as if they were ripped straight from a Tim Burton movie.  There is far more to Palaye Royale than just makeup and flashy outfits. Songs such as “Mr. Doctor Man” feature strong instrumentals and Remington Leith’s unique vocals make it a song that is catchy, but also has a deeper meaning rooted in mental health and self-expression. The band, in both look and sound, pay homage to My Chemical Romance while still creating something really exceptional. Palaye Royale is not a band to ignore and is a definite win for all the emo kids out there.
Warped Tour On-the-Go
Now that I’ve gassed up the scene, here’s some rad jams to satisfy the head-banging angsty kid we all are on the inside.
The Rock Show: Blink-182
Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous: Good Charlotte
Lisa: Makeout
Mister Doctor Man: Palaye Royale
Dear Maria, Count Me In: All Time Low
I’m Not Okay: My Chemical Romance
Shut Up (You Miss Me): Dollskin
Check Yes Juliet: We The Kings
December (Again): Neck Deep
The Middle: Jimmy Eats World

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Fan Expo! 
Fan Expo, previously known as Boston Comic-Con, is Boston’s premier fan experience—Boston’s own little slice of nerdy goodness. It wouldn’t be ridiculous to believe that a comics convention is just a bunch of guys arguing about the superior Star Trek captain (it’s Piccard by the way)—but, while Fan Expo Boston is the perfect place to geek out over your prefered movie, book or video game, there is so much more to the three-day experience. Whether you’re a convention vet or just testing the waters, here are the sights to see at Fan Expo Boston.

Soak Up the Pop Culture
People pass off comics conventions thinking non-comics fans have no reason to go. However, according to comic book artist and Fan Expo veteran Joe St. Pierre, “If you have any interest in pop culture or anything that's happening nowadays, the source material is all in comics. So, if you’re interested in any of those things—all the creators, the people who make the movies and TV shows, and the actors are all here in one spot.” 
In years long past, this sort of convention was a group of guys talking about Wolverine fighting Batman, but it has evolved into the ultimate celebration of pop culture. A five-minute walk across the convention floor is like a fandom safari. You’ll spot anything from Disney princesses to Sith Lords. 
Now, it’s very easy to be intimidated by the 6’4’’ cloaked man holding a giant glow stick, but don’t worry, you’re not about to be force-choked: it’s just a cosplayer. Cosplay is a fundamental of the Fan Expo experience, with fans going to extreme lengths to pay tribute to their favorite franchises. Some of this year’s standouts included a woman dressed as Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty,” and someone in a full suit of MJOLNIR Mark VI armor from the “Halo” series. 

Get Artsy
For our more creative readers out there, the artist’s alley is the place to be. Featuring creators large and small, it is an excellent exhibition of some of the best local artists, as well as some of the biggest names in comics. Strolling down the red-carpeted aisles, you can enjoy or even purchase watercolor portraits of your favorite characters, official signed merch, and even get a tattoo if you’re old enough. The artist’s alley is a must-see for anyone seeking to combine a love of art with a pop culture obsession.

Give Back
A big pull for those who aren’t into the nerdier side of Fan Expo is the many affiliated charities such as Extralife, an organization that allows streamers to game for a good cause, with the proceeds going to a charity of their choice. There’s also the 501st Legion, an all-volunteer organization of Star Wars cosplayers who dedicate their time towards fundraising and charity, often dressed in Sith or Imperial costumes. 

Hear from the Experts
 This year, we were lucky enough to see the “Back To The Future” reunion. Actors from the classic time travel film got together on stage to talk about the film and answer fans’ questions. It is uncommon that fans have an opportunity to interact with their heroes, and that’s why Fan Expo’s most notable attraction is these panels. 

It’s not the comics, the costumes, or even the creators. It’s the atmosphere of comradery inspired by a common love of pop culture and everything nerdy that makes the event special. Whether you’re a Dungeon Master, a Potter fanatic, a Trekkie or just looking for a cool place to spend your weekend, Boston Fan Expo is for you.  

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