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Pot, an alternative to alcohol?

Jenna Johnson

Believe it or not, this is not an April Fools' Day story.

In honor of National Alcohol Awareness Month, which starts today, students at more than 80 colleges across the country are urging their universities to allow them to use marijuana, rather than making them opt for the legal party substance, alcohol.

Students plan to distribute fliers comparing the relative harms of alcohol and pot, and carry signs and banners that read: "This is NOT a joke... Let us make the SAFER choice!"

Georgetown University students plan to protest at the law school. At the University of Maryland, students plan to hold a press conference in front of the university president's office.

"It might be April Fools' Day, but this is not a joke," said U-Md. student Zach Brown, president of the pro-pot group, NORML Terps, in a statement. "It's time we stop driving students to drink and let them make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana when they party."

The nationwide day of action was organized by Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), with the help of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and campus chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

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By Jenna Johnson  |  April 1, 2010; 8:08 AM ET
Categories:  News Overload  | Tags: Georgetown, University of Maryland  
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Like it or not, there has never been and nor will there be, a drug-free society. The use of addictive or recreational drugs is a natural part of human society. Nobody here is claiming that any substance is beneficial for either the individual or society. It is true however that certain substances help the soul heal and relieve pain, while others provide short-term relief from a monotonous existence at the risk of possible long-term health problems.

An important aspect of Individual freedom is the right to do with yourself as you please as long as your actions cause no unnecessary suffering or direct harm to others. Many among us may disagree with this, and they should be free to belief what they wish, but the moment they are willing to use force to impose their will on the rest of us is the exact same moment that the petty criminals/dealers, the Mafia, drug barons, terrorists and corrupt government officials/agencies enter the equation. The problems created by self harm then rapidly pale into insignificance as society spirals downwards into a dark abyss, while the most shady characters and 'black-market corporate entities' exponentially enrich themselves in a feeding frenzy likened to that of piranhas on bath-tub meth.

Posted by: malcolmkyle | April 1, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Allowing American citizens to grow a little marijuana in their own backyards will carve the guts out of the drug gangs and put an end to most of the border violence.

When the prohibitionists start their propaganda machine, let's just remember to ask all of the parents and grandparents, "If your college-age child or grandchild got caught with a little marijuana, would you want him or her to go to jail?"

It's time to stop locking up our kids for being kids.

Posted by: conservativechristian1976 | April 1, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

And note that a marijuana tax is coming up for a vote in California this November (2010. Citzens of California can register to vote at . Just complete the online registration form and mail it to the address on the form.

Those registering by May 24 2010 can vote in the Primary Elections on Jun 8.
Those registering by October 18 can vote in the November 2 General Election

Posted by: conservativechristian1976 | April 1, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm so proud to read about these students!

America's students <3 cannabi$$$!

Posted by: ashish714 | April 1, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

It's only a matter of time until this plant is no longer treated as an evil. Clean, safe, fun.

Posted by: ericroks | April 1, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday we saw the head of the anti-legalization movement in Cali ask "do we really need another legal intoxicant?". And my answer to him is YES, we most certainly do!

The two choices we have right now (alcohol and tobacco) are just plain terrible! Both are highly addictive, deadly, and at least in the case of alcohol, strongly inducive of domestic violence and rape - none of which are caused by marijuana.

Does society need another legal intoxicant? YES officer, it most certainly does!

Posted by: jway86 | April 1, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I have to say it's refreshing to see an objective argument in this case. Whatever we need to do to stop funding the chaos and mass murder that's taking place in Mexico seems like a good idea.

Posted by: netsurf12 | April 1, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

On one side of the country you can spend years in jail for possession of one joint. And on the other coast, you can buy a joint in a vending machine. How is this just? Prohibition endangers all. Makes kings out of petty criminals, and criminals out of honest citizens.

Posted by: Route420us | April 1, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't smoke pot. I am, however, smart enough to realize that pot is a lot less harmful to the body and generates MUCH less cost to society than alcohol. Plus, legalization would have the pleasant side effect of stopping a portion of drug prohibition related violence.

Anyone who asserts otherwise is a fool.

Posted by: thermowax | April 1, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I would much rather these young adult smoke some weed than drink booze, pop pharmaceuticals or smoke tobacco. Honestly, people are going to use substances that alter their consciousness, but some of these substances (esp booze and pills) cause a lot of needless deaths (how many famous people have died from pills lately...and we only hear about these deaths because their famous).

Smoking marijuana does not cause these problems. Prohibition is the problem.

Posted by: B-rod | April 1, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

People -- there is NO evidence that an increase in marijuana use results in a decrease of alcohol use. Anyone who suggests that we can replace alcohol with marijuana simply has not read the research literature.

There IS research showing that efforts to cut down drinking on college campuses has resulted in a decrease in marijuana use:
"Alcohol and marijuana use among college students: economic complements or substitutes?" Williams, Pacula, Chaloupka, Health Economics 13: 825-843 (2004)

Posted by: jgogek1 | April 1, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes America, the time has come. Way86 is so correct, we do need another mind altering recreational drug. Alcohol is not a good thing. Both my parents were alcoholics and my brother and I suffered years of abuse because of it. I am 60 years old now and I gave up alcohol over 40 years ago when I was introduced to maryjane in Vietnam. Her ability to calm me when I needed calming, to let me laugh when I had no reason to laugh, to see things inside of me I never realized were there were a blessing. I was so impressed with her that I invited her to come home with me. Unlike today, Vietnam vets were drop off into society with a good luck and a smile. If it were not for mj's help during those times I would be a different person now. Instead she gently brought me back into the real world and helped me become social again. She has been a companion for over 40 years now and I have never been better, healthier or happier. I have largely miss out on the wonders of alcohol...the passing out, the black outs, the violence, the abuse, the vomiting, the public urinating, the liver problems. Gosh, I can even recite my ABC's when I'm stoned! I can read a good book and enjoy it more. I can watch a good movie and see things I would have never seen before. Music is sweeter, colors brighter and the taste of food is wonderful. Can't say that with alcohol! I believe that given a choice many citizens would chose cannabis over alcohol and live healthier lives.

Posted by: denbee | April 1, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

How anyone who uses killer alcohol has the moral right to tell other adults they can't use cannabis is far beyond my ability to comprehend. It seems obvious that there would be more alcohol related grief than there already is if the alternative of cannabis didn't exist. I've known too many people who liked both, had problems controlling themselves UI alcohol, but mostly used alcohol because they couldn't afford weed. One of them liked to kick his kids in the head when he was drunk, but was no more than slightly obnoxious UI cannabis. NEVER saw or heard of it working the other way around. Most child molestors are alcohol abusers. Alcohol supremacism over cannabis is a piece of violence promoting garbage.

Posted by: newageblues | April 2, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

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