Apr 192010
Authors: Ian Bezek, Wade McManus

Gatherings a political statement
By Wade McManus

Today is April 20, a day insignificant most places around the United States. But in Colorado, and at CU-Boulder in particular, you would think it’s a holiday. In most college circles this day is known as none other than 4/20, a particular day when smoking marijuana is accepted and encouraged. The past few years it seems the smoking gatherings at the CU-Boulder campus have been getting larger and larger — more people are joining the fun.

If you have ever visited CU on 4/20, you would know the day is filled with a lot of games, music, friends and a whole lot of smoke. But I believe that 4/20 is more than college students just acting out and being juvenile. The gathering can be seen as a political statement — a protest — one shared by people across the state of Colorado.

I am sure the participants joining the masses to smoke their pipes and blunts are a thrill and seeking a high, but the message sent is far greater. It sends a message locally, through a billow of smoke rising off the campus at 4:20 p.m., that they support the legalization of marijuana.

The media delivers images to legislators and our nation of thousands of students and community members enjoying marijuana safely, and arguably responsibly, also encouraging the legalization of marijuana.

The statements delivered at these rallies are an important move to inch closer to the full-blown legalization of marijuana, which apparently is a very important issue to college students around the state. If we cannot get organized to protest war or the collapse of public education at least we can organize ourselves around marijuana (cough-cough).

Wade McManus is a senior political science major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

Not the right kind of activism
By Ian Bezek

I agree with Wade that marijuana should be legalized; in fact, I wrote about the need for marijuana legalization on a previous year’s 4/20.

But this is not the right way to communicate the message. As a person who campaigned for Amendment 44 in 2006, an amendment that would have legalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in Colorado, I firmly believe that reasonable people will support marijuana legalization when confronted with the facts.

Marijuana simply isn’t particularly a drug when compared with alcohol, nicotine or the other illegal drugs. The fact that the law treats marijuana as if it were on par with heroin or cocaine is absurd.

But having a big party isn’t the best way to convince older people of marijuana’s effectiveness. When legislators see a bunch of young college students breaking the law, having a rowdy get-together and generally acting like immature fun-seekers, they get worried.

They don’t see students acting safely and responsibly, they see a big party that distracts campus from educational activities and requires the use of limited police resources for crowd control.

The vast majority of alcohol users aren’t going to keggers every weekend. Likewise, the majority of marijuana users aren’t stereotype-fitting stoners; CU-Boulder’s annual party isn’t the right way to break those stereotypes.

I applaud social activism, but if you plan on breaking the law, I encourage you to do so for a greater cause. There isn’t a whole lot of nobility in getting arrested for your right to get high.

Editorials Editor Ian Bezek is a senior economics major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@ collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:50 pm

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