Monday, May 01, 2006

Reefer Madness

It seems that the Univ. of Colorado police have declared their own little war on drugs. At UC (and other colleges) there is a well-followed tradition wherein multitudes of students gather at 4:20 pm on April 20th (4/20) at a prearranged location (at UC it is Farrand Field in Boulder) to spark their doobies in an open celebration of marijuana. Many campuses tolerate this at a form of civil protest, or simply dismiss it a kids being kids and turn a blind eye. Not so at UC...

On Apr 20 of last year, the UC campus police (hereafter "campos") posted signs around the field saying students were not allowed—when the students overran the field and started puffin’ their cheeba anyway, the campos turned the sprinklers on them. This year, they again posted signs and stationed armed campos around the perimeter, but they were powerless as thousands of students overran the field with their bags of ganja at four twenty. This year, instead of the sprinklers, the campos turned cameras on the students. To bring the stoners to justice, the campos have now posted photos on a website and offered $50 for each positive identification of one of these neo-hippies.

My first though was "cool!" These people are voluptuaries who flagrantly thumb their noses at authority in pursuit of a hedonistic self-indulgence and should be prosecuted. But, I couldn’t help but wonder if my reaction was more of a product of the fact that I don't smoke pot and generally don't care for people who do? Or is it just that a "law" was broken and I support the authorities bringing them to justice?


However, as I thought more about this, I realized that I am usually outraged over the prosecution of other "benign" crimes (yes, I can admit that smoking pot is relatively benign) like driving a little too fast or "stealing" music off the internet. Perhaps these students (when they are not too high to think such thoughts) feel the same way and actually are celebrating 4:20 to make a statement—to proudly say to the world they think ole' mary jane is alright. But, if this is the case, there should be no whining. They should proudly toke their bongs in the very places they are likely to get caught and call attention to the "injustice" of their arrest. Perhaps they will garner attention to their cause and get the hash legalized.

Personally, I don't think the students are so high-minded (pun intended). I think they are probably a bunch of counter-productive punks who get a kick out playing Tom and Jerry with the campos.

But, for the select few that may be doing it in civil protest I say "bravo", and Godspeed to you in your quest (and watch out for the corn-hole when you are in the city jail over the weekend). Stand up to authority if you really feel this strong, and once they let you out of the poke, don't just go back to the field—take your hash pipe to the state house steps there in Boulder and smoke it proudly. Even thought I don’t care to see marijuana legalized, I support your open protest of laws that you think are unjust, and I stand beside you (metaphorically of course).

I'll be the guy driving a mini-van on I-20 w/ the cruise control set at a rakish 16 mph over the speed "limit" and listening to music I "stole" when Napster still worked—waging my own little jihad on oppressive copyright and traffic laws.

Special thanks to the profs over at Concuring Opinions for the 4:20 story...

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