Students Condone Marijuana Use
Editor’s Note: The following story is an interview conducted with several University students who use marijuana. For obvious reasons, the names used here are not actually those of the students interviewed.
By ANNETTE BUCHANAN
Emerald Managing Editor
“Pot sensations are different from those of alcohol. There’s actually no comparison.”
This comment was made by a University student during a discussion of the recent publicity given to the use of marijuana and other drugs. He went on to explain the effects of marijuana:
“Pot is not nearly so severe as alcohol. It’s a pleasurable effect. You’re much more sensitive, aware, tender, appreciative of life.”
The other students chimed in with their experiences using marijuana. “You’re much more perceptive. So many things are important—rocks, leaves, and especially the lives of other people.
“You become tender and affectionate. You feel the presence of another person so much more strongly—the sense are intensified.”
‘NOTHING REALLY ALTERED’
“Nothing is really altered—you can move your mind and focus it.”
Bill continued by contrasting marijuana and alcohol: “Pot is not like alcohol. You have complete physical control. You don’t use yourself.
“It’s almost an antithesis of alcohol. It’s a pleasurable sensation with no hangover. I always sleep well the next day. And it’s good for your appetite too.”
A girl in levis and sweatshirt took a long drag on a cigarette and added. “The best way to use pot is to eat it, like in spaghetti sauce.”
Joe then described his experiences: “You don’t see things that aren’t there, but you see commonplace things in a different light, a different context.”
“You can’t categorize its effect on a person,” Bernard interjected. “It’s personal, and different for everyone, but never harmful.”
CRITICIZE EMERALD STORIES
The students began by criticizing a recent issue of The Emerald which carried a report of the speech by Dr. Herman Cohen on LSD and a COllegiate Press Service story of drug use in Pennsylvania.
“The story implies that marijuana leads to cocaine and heroin,” Bill charged.
“Marijuana is no more addicting than cigarettes. Cohen said it is less dangerous than alcohol,” Sue added.
The story on drug use also mentioned homosexuality.
“The guy’s sexual intentions had nothing to do with pot,” she declared.
“People are just afraid of marijuana,” added her husband Ed. “If they take a drag it may change everything. It’s a threat to their way of life. One who smokes may seem to be a mystic—he’s one up on them.”
“Of the hundreds we know who smoke pot, none of them change character. They just use it like a drink.”
Bill commented that those who smoke could become a pot “head” just like someone could become an alcoholic, but it’s not necessarily true.
They were highly critical of the “blue hooded students referred to in the CPS story. “They just couldn’t exist,” said Sue.
LIKE A CASE OF BEER
“Someone spending $15 a week on pot is like someone drinking a case of beer a day. Anybody who starts out like that has got to have a real problem and would become addicted to anything he could get hold of,” Bill declared.
Then he attacked the traditional association of marijuana, heroin, and crime. “Heroin and crime would not be a problem if it were easily available. They could just mind their own business and use it if they wanted to. The high cost of illegal drugs causes crime, not the drug.”
“Pot isn’t expensive,” Sue added. “So we don’t have to go to great lengths to get it. If a girl becomes a prostitute to get money for pot she just wanted to be a whore anyway.”
Joe pointed out that when the government legislates against drugs it “Just hands it over to the underworld of supply.”
“The pot laws were passed years ago as a reaction towards its use. They weren’t valid then, and they aren’t valid now,” Bill charged.
“It’s when you don’t have respect for yourself and your own values that you say others don’t either and try to impose your own on them,” he continued.
“Just because they are afraid is no reason to impute crime to others. They are questioning our values because we threaten their god damn life,” said Ed.
“If they think they are right, how can they censor others?” he asked. “If you respect yourself and your own decisions you must assume that others are behaving in the same way.”
Some are escapists
Bill mentioned the traditional association of marijuana and New York City. “They’re escapists so of course some of them may want to use more powerful drugs to obtain a greater ‘high.’ They want to escape from a deprived environment. And it’s easier for a ‘pusher’ to win over slum dwellers. That can’t happen here.”
Sue interjected, “Discussion of marijuana should not be included in discussion of ‘super drugs.’ Marijuana is trivial in comparison.”
The students continually compared marijuana to alcohol. “Some people may be looking for a crutch. It could be alcohol, religion, or pot,” said Bill. “But it isn’t a crutch for a responsible person.”
Joe called alcohol “a wores crutch. It’s basically self-destructive.”
Bernard commented: “The people I know who take pot are intellectual. It’s not for a kick but to enrich their experience. But people drink just to get blasted.”
An alcoholic is “just a worthless bum on a park bench,” according to Bill. “But someone who uses pot can still cope with reality and contribute something to society. It won’t keep him from getting a Ph.D.”
“In fact,” Sue quipped, “It might just help.” She also pointed out that a heavy drinker might try pot, then stop drinking and just use pot occasionally. “Using pot is a search for something else outside yourself, something better,” according to Max, another student.
Like a tranquilizer
“Someone using pot is not irresponsible, like someone who is a drunk,” Sue said. “It’s more like a tranquilizer. Alcohol is a more temporary escape.
“We know about 200 students who use pot, but it doesn’t lead psychologically to anything else. At least it hasn’t with them.”
Mike pointed out that the traditional theory is that they might move on to something more powerful if they were just looking for an escape.
Tranquilizers are more of an escape than marijuana, according to Max.
Sue added that pot might become a habit but is less addicting than coffee.
Joe lashed out at the restrictions on the use of marijuana. “The group thinks that its values should go for all. Why can’t they let people do what they wan? Who does the middle class or the government think it is that they can tell people what to do?”
Sue just commented on the “twisted value system in this country.”
The students mentioned a case in Seattle where several students were given 20-year sentences for possession of marijuana. “We ought to know by now that prison sentences are not a deterrent,” Sue said. “All it will do is ruin a college career.”
Bill concluded: “These things aren’t new. They’ve been around for thousands of years. The eastern ascetics used them. There is nothing inherently new or evil in the use of marijuana.”
Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.