MU students ask for change in marijuana use policy

Thursday, April 8, 2010 | 6:32 p.m. CDT; updated 6:59 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 8, 2010

COLUMBIA — Members of Mizzou NORML,  which argues for equal punishment for alcohol and marijuana use, gathered in MU Speakers Circle to rally for Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation's Day of Action.

Students marched together to the chancellor's office to deliver a copy of the "Emerald Initiative" and the book "Marijuana Is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink?" Students hope to receive the chancellor's endorsement of the "Emerald Initiative," Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreations' initiative to open discussion about allowing students to use marijuana.

"It's time our colleges and universities stop teaching students to 'drink responsibly' and start teaching them to 'party responsibly,'" said Kellie Smith, president of Mizzou NORML.




MU students march together to the chancellor's office to deliver a copy of the "Emerald Initiative" and the book "Marijuana Is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink?" Students hope to receive the chancellor's endorsement of the "Emerald Initiative," Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreations' initiative to open discussion about allowing students to use marijuana.
Kellie Smith, president of Mizzou NORML, gives a speech arguing for equal punishment for alcohol and marijuana use in Speakers Circle while other NORML members rally behind her for Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation's Day of Action. Smith said, "It's time our colleges and universities stop teaching students to 'drink responsibly' and start teaching them to 'party responsibly.'"
Josh Chittum urges crowd members to support the "Emerald Initiative." He argues that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, therefore students deserve the right to make the "educated decision" to use marijuana and not receive harsher punishments for it.

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Carl Kabler April 8, 2010 | 9:14 p.m.

It's great students are speaking out, and using their voices (vs other means) to express their opinions, whether one agrees (or perhaps not) with what they are saying. I value it on just their desire to take part in the dialogue process. The 'younger' people don't have to inherit a world made by the older, they can shape their own world if they'll just put out the required effort.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith April 9, 2010 | 8:10 a.m.

It's even greater that there are students studying science and engineering at campuses across the United States, obtaining the background they will need to address the technical issues involved with society's energy and other infrastructural problems.

But that work will be no more important than what will be required of the agricultural sciences. Even if world population "plateaus" there are serious issues to be addressed.

A tad more difficult than carrying a sign?

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler April 9, 2010 | 8:45 a.m.

Yes Ellie, it's great to study the sciences, perhaps with most all of our jobs shipped overseas though, those who get their science and engineering degrees can use them to contstuct a better fast food hamburger, or perhaps put them to use designing ways to pack more people per square foot into a the fast prison growth industry.

In some ways though I think carrying a sign these days, speaking out, and engaging directly into the decision making process may in fact be the more challenging route and take the most courage, it's not easy to stand up for things other people may take issue with, always easiest to go along with he herd, but I think in the end learning and practicing to be a real authentic individual and standing up for what one really believes, even if it means a little discomfort, may be one of the most useful and fulfilling things a person can ever learn in life. Kudos to the young people for daring to look outside the confines of the 'barbed wire fence'.

Too Ellie, you may not have figured this out yet, but let me let you in on a little secret. The planners at the VERY top of the money heap have decided that population growth is no longer going to be allowed at the pace it has been going and in fact wait and see but we are soon going to start experiencing a decline in the world's population. In fact for those in the know it has already started. No amount of college degrees on earth are going to help provide jobs to those trying to enter the market when there are shrinking jobs. Think of it this way. Current capitalist models always seem to be based on ever expanding growth. Think what happens when we no longer have growth but in fact a 'downsizing'. Care to guess what happens?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 9, 2010 | 1:03 p.m.

Yes. There has been lots of activity on population control. This is why I am concerned about the control and influence NORML has over our younger generation.
It is difficult enough to communicate and discuss concepts and issues when we are "sober." It is difficult enough to have interpersonal relationships..."sober."
Any "self medication" of psychoactive substances for hedonistic purposes will hinder our ability to process information, communicate with each other effectively, "hear," process, learn and act for our own and others "best interest." I contend that with the number of AA and AL-ANON meetings which take place in this small town and across our nation, that some people are beginning to realize the negative effects of alcohol consumption.
And now it seems that trying to make Columbia into more of a party town akin to a Little Amsterdam by the Missouri River is "more funner" than addressing some real issues that are a little harder to wrap one's head around.

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler April 9, 2010 | 6:44 p.m.

Thanks Ray, for the link, it's great others here are awake to the coming (and present designs) and pitfalls of overt and especially covert population reduction schemes being carried out as we speak. More and more people are going to find in the years to come they are not going to be able to conceive and never have a clue why. Many others will lose loved ones as well, very prematurely, and never understand the full impact of what really happened.

On the issue of this article though, I must say I personally have always separated 'use' from 'abuse' when talking about any lifestyle choice(involving 'intoxicants')that people tend to make. I don't advocate 'drug use' perse, but at the same time I don't advocate telling other citizens what they can or can't put into their own bodies. I truly believe alcohol and tobacco are POTENTIALLY much more harmful to many individuals than cannabis, from a scientific point of view, and I agree with the students in this regard.

Humans have been 'self medicating' themselves for untold thousands of years and I find it more 'natural' than not. I understand for some people who are abusing anything (vs using), as you say for only a 'hedonistic' thrill, this could present problems. However this applies to about any area of life and I'm not sure it's reasonable or logical to single out just a couple of things that we tend to put into little separate boxes as if they were so much different than the myriad other things that are so similar.

One last thought, I am ABSOLUTELY convinced whatever small harm might be caused to some (a few?) individuals who abuse whatever they use (with emphasis on the cannabis that this article is about) prohibition (of cannabis) causes far far far more damage to individuals and families than this weed could ever do just by it's chemical contituents. I really believe that and I have personally witnessed more than a few very fine and productive people (who seemed to have little problem with their occasional usage) whom I've known through the years get sucked up into the prison/industial growth racket simply for their choice in this regard. I think it's a shame, and I think it's sad, and most of all I think it's time to revise cannabis laws where they are in line with our alcohol laws.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 9, 2010 | 9:12 p.m.

While I believe that Richard M. Nixon went way overboard in a hyper-punitive penal-system oriented "war on drugs," I also am concerned about the manner in which we adjust to a more reasonable handling of regulating, manufacturing, distribution and consumption.
Addiction or drugs as a coping behavior can and do create problems.
Black market activity creates problems.
I submit this country consider allowing doctors, drug companies and lawyers work on the best way to handle the addiction problems while governmental legislatures address the best way to minimize black market activity vis a vis a new campaign.
You can't win the "war on drugs." Better to work on the "war on poverty." Better to work on the "war on ignorance," Better to work on the, "war for individual rights." Better to work on a "war for healthier Americans."
--While I am not a big fan of NORML and not in total agreement with the following group's rhetoric, I believe the group known as "LEAP" serves as the best presenters I have seen to date on this subject...

(Report Comment)
Carl Kabler April 9, 2010 | 10:31 p.m.

As I sit here sipping a cold frosty adult beverage (or two, don't read this anyone under the age of 21) I must say, Ray your comment is one of, if not the most fair and rational comments I have read in quite awhile (and I read quite a bit. I also picked up having a few cigs every day after 19 years of abstaining ( so the kids wouldn't smoke, they did anyway, who'd a figured), I really kind of enjoy it. I know it's not 'healthy' but I compensate with lot's of exercise and a fabulous choice in diet. Do my choices make me a 'drug user'? Well technically yes, nicotine probably makes a good bug spray, but all things in moderation I guess.

All of the laws dealing with "drugs" whether tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, etc. need to be based on the EFFECTS that these drugs create, as wasn't that originally the intention? Everything really, at the chemical level that one puts into their body (and mind) is a 'drug'.

I would simply say attempting to match up serious bad behaviors --tendancy towards violence, extreme paranoia-- (I'm convinced meth is bad news, likely crack, heroin etc. too.) with measures to address it vs. measures to combat cannibis, with what behaviors (laughing too much, going home and putting on the White Album???) need to be kept in balance, again (maybe preaching to choir) all in all I believe less damage would be done to society by keeping people OUT of prison, by not getting them into the legal system in the first place if at all if possible simply based on their choice of cannibas over alcohol and allowing the MEDICAL community to address any addictions. But that's just my opinion and I respect those who might see it differently.

(Report Comment)

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