Episode 37 - How One Amazing 16 Year Old is Changing Minds About Legalization

Irene Mosyak, a 16 year old student whose research is changing hearts and minds in her school and hometown of Clarkesville, Maryland.


That advice comes from Irene Mosyak, a remarkable 16-year old who challenged her high school by doing a thesis project on medical cannabis. This podcast is her story.

“I was searching for a relevant topic and I was curious about why getting cannabis legalized was such an issue. When I proposed the topic of medical marijuana, the teacher suggested I do something else. 'Why are you researching a gateway drug?' she asked. I was trying to be respectful so I didn’t laugh. I explained that I was examining the relationship between CBD and THC and how medical marijuana treats drug resistant epilepsy. Reluctantly, she agreed, as long as I wasn’t promoting recreational teen use. 

“Other students made fun of me. 'We’re researching cancer. You’re researching weed?' They said smoking cannabis was as bad as smoking cigarettes, which is wrong. They thought legalization would create an unproductive society. When I mentioned studies showing that it helps people get off hard drugs, they said, 'But then they'll be marijuana addicts.' I also ran a survey on my town’s (Clarksville, Maryland) Facebook page and got over 200 responses. They were even more uninformed than my fellow students. Two of the most common responses were, 'People pretend to have back pain in order to get high,' and 'There’s no need for medical marijuana if pharmaceuticals are more effective.'

"In the end, I presented my research in a paper and two presentations and I did change minds. Legalization is making the situation better, but there’s still a long way to go.”

Joe Dolce