SAFER is a new organization of marijuana activists that has been promoting marijuana as an alternative to alcohol on the campuses of CSU and University of Colorado – Boulder. The organization is currently trying to reduce the penalties for marijuana use to the same penalties that underage drinkers receive.
Mason Tvert, the executive director for SAFER, said that universities are steering students toward alcohol by giving harsher penalties to those who use marijuana.
The cause-and-effect relationship being proposed here is that students who fear being caught for smoking marijuana are going to indefinitely turn to alcohol. However, since the effects of the two substances are completely different, marijuana users aren't necessarily going to turn to alcohol as a substitution.
Making penalties for marijuana use and underage drinking equal would say that they are equal in legality. Whether or not marijuana is healthier for an individual isn't the issue, the issue is that it is illegal. Drinking is only against the law if done by someone underage.
The flak that university administrators would receive, as well as the already negative stigma that Colorado universities have attained in the past year would increase if such a policy was adopted.
"There is obviously a problem and the school's policies are not working," Tvert said.
There is a problem, but the problem isn't be solved by making marijuana use less punishable.