The pot smoking rally that occurred on April 20 at the University of Colorado’s Farrand Field and the reactions of university officials since, have brought out the worst of both sides of the debate.
In reference to the marijuana users who decided to illegally congregate within the closed boundaries, the actions taken did nothing to further the cause of pot legalization. It could be debated whether or not that was the intention of those who congregated to get high. But regardless, by blatantly ignoring the warning signs not to trespass, a message was sent to the public that these pot smokers lacked even the most basic respect for the law.
On the other side of the debate, someone working with CU or Boulder’s police department walked through the crowd, collecting pictures. These photographs of individuals smoking pot are now available on the Internet along with a $50 reward for anyone who identifies those pictured. Encouraging citizens to do the job of police and rat out others is wrong in so many ways and brings to mind the days of McCarthyism.
While we agree with many of the participants at the rally – that the laws regulating drug usage in this country are archaic and steeped in racism – there are certainly better ways to get a point across.
Just look south of the U.S. border to see that even governments can eventually be swayed by logic when it comes to a person’s right to put whatever they want in their own body.
Mexico recently passed a measure that will decriminalize possession of narcotics for personal use. All that will result from this measure is the end of prison overpopulation, increased narcotic regulation and less violence from narco-traffickers.
It is unlikely, however, that such logic will find its way to our country any time soon. The ones who profit most from the illegal drug trade in the U.S. are not the ones dealing – it is those running the prisons and pharmaceutical companies that finance our politicians’ election campaigns.