A holiday of indulgence is not an excuse to be unsafe
Published: Monday, April 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 02:04
Ah, it must be that time of year again. The days are getting longer, the temperatures are getting warmer and the smells of spring are in the air. Take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh scents of ... wait a second, is that a skunk?
Oh, that’s right − this Friday is “4/20,” a date known internationally for Adolf Hitler’s birthday, the anniversary of the Columbine high school shootings and the unofficial holiday of pot smokers everywhere.
The use of marijuana seems to be gaining more and more acceptance these days. Have you driven around Colorado Springs lately? Those trademark green plus signs seem to be in just about every shopping strip across the city.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado for over a decade, although we have to wonder how many of its users have a legitimate need for it. It seems likely that for many card-carrying “patients,” the medicinal needs are primarily just a cover for recreational use.
So why don’t we just call a spade a spade, then? The proposed Colorado Amendment 64, heading to the general ballots this November, aims to do just that. Voters will (once again) decide if they want to legalize the possession and consumption of “limited amounts of marijuana” for all adults 21 and older.
We’ve all been here before: Amendment 44 proposed almost the same thing back in 2006 but was handily defeated by a 60-40 majority.
That margin looks to be a little tighter in this year’s election, although one thing’s for certain: If every eligible voter aged 18-25 actually voted in this fall’s state elections, the amendment would almost certainly pass without contest. (How’s that for motivation to “Get Out the Youth Vote”?)
In fact, a similar measure passed within the city limits of Denver that allows possession up to an ounce, but since state laws trump city laws, police officers there are obliged to continue making arrests.
We at The Scribe are not going to endorse a vote one way or another, as our opinions on the matter are pretty widely varied. But we won’t hesitate to acknowledge the simple fact that many students our age do partake in the age-old tradition − even at this relatively conservative campus.
In fact, it’s not unusual to catch a whiff of it on a stroll through the dorms complex; we have to feel bad for the campus tour guides who pick the wrong time of day to lead a group of prospective students and their parents through there.
If you’re a regular user, that’s fine by us; what you do on your own time, at your own risk, is your own business, as long as you’re not harming anyone with it.
But please don’t assume that you can get away with it under any circumstance, and that it’s totally safe in any situation. That’s just dumb.
First of all, if you choose to indulge right before your introductory philosophy class, don’t assume we can’t smell it on you while we’re forced to sit next to you for over an hour, and don’t think that your amazing “high-deas” are worth sharing with the rest of the class. (Asking, “Could God microwave a frozen burrito so hot that even he couldn’t eat it?” is not a valuable contribution to the discussion on Immanuel Kant.)
Secondly, treat this drug responsibly, like you should for any other kind of intoxicant. You wouldn’t drink and drive, so why do you assume you aren’t also impaired when your brain is filled with THC molecules, a mild hallucinogen?
A study in 2005 indicated that marijuana users are nearly twice as likely as sober drivers to be involved in a fatal car crash. Do us all a favor and stay off the roads this weekend, and encourage your like-minded friends to do the same.
Finally − and perhaps most importantly − consider all the possible consequences of your choices. Medical research is increasingly linking marijuana use to long-lasting mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and even schizophrenia.
That high you feel might only last a few hours at most, but the potential mental problems could haunt you for many years. (Telling yourself, “It probably won’t happen to me,” isn’t enough to stop it.)
Whatever your plans are this April 20, we hope you make safe and responsible decisions, for yourself, as well as those around you.