Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Colorado - Marijuana Anyone?

Colorado Hard On Drinkers, Easy On Stoners

The Frat Boy News Daily College Column
By Alexandria Bath, Colorado's Campus Press

Anyone who lives in Boulder probably knows that marijuana offenses of less than 1 ounce tend to get treated pretty lightly. Anyone who has been under 21 in Boulder probably knows that getting caught drinking usually results in hefty fines, alcohol classes, in some cases expulsion from school, and court cases. Should marijuana use be punished less than underage drinking in Boulder?

My thoughts are no. I think that marijuana and underage drinking should be punished the same way. I really don't see a difference between the two, and I don't understand why the CU Police Department considers marijuana the lesser of the two "evils."

Both substances make the user uninhibited, the effects can last numerous hours, both are considered "gate way drugs", and both have addictive effects after frequent use. Both are used in a social setting, and both are seen as a way to unwind and relax among most college students.

However, I don't see why underage drinking, that becomes legal after 21 years, is more readily punished than marijuana, which is an illegal substance. However, in areas such as Boulder, it tends to get a blind eye turned towards it. Millions of taxpayers' dollars go to the war against underage drinking, at CU this includes 18-20 year olds who are considered "not mature enough" to decide whether or not they should drink, but are considered mature enough to pay thousands of dollars in tuition.

Anyone who is caught with marijuana, despite his or her age, despite the fact that marijuana is considered illegal, ends up with a one hundred dollar fine, comparable to the price of a ticket for running a red light.

There are many arguments on either side of the debate glorifying the use of either alcohol or marijuana, claims discussing how one is better for the user than the other, there are also those in the debate who think, "Well, you might as well get high and drunk." There are also those of you that will say that underage drinking is harmful, where as marijuana is not.

For those of you who believe that underage drinking is a greater evil than marijuana, you have probably crossed over the underage drinking line, and don't remember your wonder years of shoulder tapping, or trying to hide in a gallon sized rubber maid container while the police searched the house.

However, it has been a topic of great discussion for some time now that countries without a drinking age have far less instances of "underage abuse" than we do. This is most likely due to the fact that drinking underage doesn't seem like such a forbidden fruit, since the drinking age is either non-existent or much younger than 21.

I am a believer in live and let live, but I honestly think that the CU Police Department should either ease up on underage drinking, or make the punishment the same for both. In my opinion, I say ease up on underage drinking. Here is the bottom line: people are going to continue use these substances. This stands true regardless of any consequence that is left to punish these "illegal" acts.We all know of the student our freshmen year who got his or her very first MIP. Where were they next weekend? Probably doing a keg stand at a party next door. Did they learn anything? Probably to wear their running shoes to all future parties.

Comedy aside, I do not feel that there is a "lesser of two evils" in either situation. If Boulder is going to let people "light up" they should let them "drink up" as well.

Contact Campus Press Staff writer Alexandria Bath at
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