Pubdate: Thu, 22 Apr 2004
Source: Iowa State Daily (IA Edu)
Copyright: 2004, Iowa State Daily
Author: Jeremy Oehlert
Cited: Iowa NORML
Cited: Million Marijuana March


Something that has not been pondered, although it is probably worthy
of note, is would last weekend's riot have occurred if, instead of
drinking alcohol, the participants of the riot had been smoking pot?

Instead of Kum & Go being pelted with rocks, it more likely would have
been overrun by thirsty patrons desperately seeking Gatorade; rather
than hurling burning Dumpsters down Lincoln Way, party-goers would
have been content to gaze in infinite wonder at lava lamps, discuss
the finer points of techno music, or play seemingly never-ending games
of Halo; instead of windows being broken out of Taco Bell, a riot
would have been more likely if they had run out of chicken

The simple fact of the matter is that marijuana users are sedentary
folks who laugh a lot and are more likely to devastate a bag of chips
than they are society at large. When you think of marijuana users,
think of real-life hobbits.

So why is it that while alcohol fuels drunken driving, fights, rapes
- - and in this case, riots - marijuana users are the ones who are
being put in prison for no worse crime than possessing a plant?

The double standard of marijuana prohibition is grotesque! Pot smokers
lose their federal student aid, while those convicted of violent
crimes such as murder and rape are still eligible. Annual marijuana
arrests (88 percent of which are for possession-only) outnumber
arrests for all violent crimes put together. Harmless marijuana users
face incarceration, intimidation and outright persecution all over
something that God created and put on this planet.

What it all boils down to is that although marijuana users cause no
significant harm to society, they represent a disproportionate number
of those in our nation's prison system for no better reason than those
that make our laws just don't like people smoking flowers. It is
disgusting that, in a supposedly "free society," a crime is not
measured so much by the harm it causes to society as by how tolerant
people are to the said activity.

Fortunately, there is something that we can all do about this.

Next Saturday, May 1, Iowa National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws will be sponsoring the annual Million Marijuana March
on the west steps of the Capitol building in Des Moines at "high"
noon. The Iowa State Libertarians have already pledged their support
for this effort and are encouraging everyone to attend who feels that
smoking a plant should not a crime. Along with the growing NORML
chapter here at Iowa State, we hope to bring carloads of eager
individuals to protest the double standard of marijuana prohibition in
this state.

Our nation can handle personal responsibility. Our nation can handle
legal marijuana.

Jeremy Oehlert


Iowa State Libertarians 
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