I spent last St. Patrick’s Day at the marijuana policy reform group NORML’s conference in Philadelphia. It was pouring rain when I arrived, and as I ran from my car through the University of Pennsylvania campus, I tried to discern the green-clad marijuana activists from St. Patrick’s Day revelers. I quickly realized it was not that hard: the pro-pot advocates, as quirky as the some of them were, appeared to have better control of their footing.
St. Patrick’s Day, though an Irish holiday rooted in history and tradition, is regarded by many Americans (perhaps on college campuses, in particular) as an opportunity to get wasted. Meanwhile, today, April 20, is known as the marijuana user’s holiday, 4/20. Across the country, stoners are gathering to defy the law and get high.
Both holidays, to some extent, celebrate mind-altering substances, but they couldn’t be seen as more different by the law. You wouldn’t speak with your boss about your 4/20 plans or come to the office in weed-themed garb. That’s because while alcohol is legal, m arijuana is grouped alongside drugs like heroin in the most restrictive category of the Controlled Substances Act, Schedule I. This is despite the fact that marijuana is by far the safer substance of the two. A scene full of stoners is far more peaceful (and safer) than a bar or city full of people who are trashed. But while weed is the subject of a decades-old onslaught of government propaganda decrying its supposed harm, our society glamorizes alcohol.
Unlike alcohol, marijuana use is not linked to increase in injury or reckless behavior, nor is it linked to violence or sexual assault. Alcohol, however, is.
– Read the entire article in AlterNet.