April is Alcohol Awareness Month and I found it fitting in Tuesday’s
issue of TNH to read an article explaining “drunken etiquette.” It got
me thinking: nobody wants find themselves belligerently drunk in front
of a UNH police officer, nobody wants to do something stupid that could
endanger themselves or people around them but that’s what alcohol does.
Lowering inhibitions and forgetting the problems of the school week
just for a night is what college students do best, but what if we could
use a substance to “party” that would save us from being tackled on the
spot for stumbling on that walk to Wildcat? What if we had a safer way
to party that didn’t induce violence, sexual assault or property damage
like alcohol does? According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
and Alcoholism’s Task Force on College Drinking, each year the use of
alcohol by college students contributes to approximately 1,700 student
deaths, 600,000 unintentional student injuries, 695,000 assaults
involving students, and 97,000 sexual assaults and date rapes involving
students. Fortunately, use of cannabis has never been considered a
factor in violent crime or sexual assaults.
Even though alcohol is lawfully prohibited for half of us at UNH, we
all know someone who can take a stroll downtown to help out a friend.
In reality, the prohibition of alcohol for those of us under 21 is not
working. It’s not stopping us from drinking and it’s not stopping us
from getting arrested for it. Cannabis is lawfully prohibited for
everyone; nobody can buy it in a store and it’s strictly enforced, yet
it’s the most widely-used illegal drug in the country.
Imagine if every instance of alcohol use on campus was replaced with
cannabis use over the past year. Would we have seen the brutal assault
on a student during Halloween night last semester? Would we have seen
such lengthy police logs after homecoming, or any other weekend for
that matter? Would we have been able to prevent the countless sexual
assaults that go on without notice or legal consequences?
The fact is: marijuana is safer than alcohol, as anybody who as
tried both can attest to. I would argue that it is much safer for the
UNH community as well as society as a whole. We all know the laws, but
the time has come for a community to protect itself and make the safer,