A group called Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER)
said students at the University of Oregon and 80 other colleges and
universities plan rallies April 1 "to urge their universities to stop
driving them to drink and allow them to use marijuana as a safer recreational alternative,"
according to a press release.April 1 marks the first day of National
Alcohol Awareness Month -- as well as April Fool's Day -- and the
group's press release claims students will be out on their campuses
distributing information about the relative harms of alcohol and
marijuana, as well as holding signs and banners that read: "This is NOT a
joke ... Let us make the SAFER choice!", according to SAFER.
During the day, the group said students will visit the office of the
university president to deliver a copy of the book, "Marijuana Is Safer:
So why are we driving people to drink?", along with copies of the
"Emerald Initiative," which they will urge their respective presidents
The Emerald Initiative is described as SAFER's response to the
Amethyst Initiative -- a statement endorsed by more than 130 college
presidents and chancellors, calling for "informed and dispassionate
public debate" on whether lowering the legal drinking age to 18 would
reduce levels of student drinking and incidences of the serious problems
associated with it.
The "Emerald Initiative" calls on these same presidents and
chancellors -- as well as others -- to support "informed and
dispassionate public debate" on whether allowing students to use
marijuana more freely could reduce dangerous drinking on and around
Emerald Initiative Statement
It’s time to address the culture of alcohol on campus
alcohol use at our nation’s colleges and universities has reached
The consensus among researchers, educators and
policymakers is that a “culture of alcohol” on and around college
campuses is largely responsible for the popularity, frequency, and
degree of student drinking.
Yet efforts to change this “culture
of alcohol” – which rely heavily on encouraging students to “drink
responsibly” – have largely failed to address it and in some cases
continue to fuel it.
College students are being driven to drink
is time to explore the benefits of encouraging students to “party
responsibly” rather than “drink responsibly.”
marijuana are by far the two most popular recreational substances
available to college students.
Every objective study on
marijuana has concluded that it is far less harmful than alcohol both to
the user and to society yet students face more severe legal and
university penalties for marijuana use than they do for alcohol use.
laws and policies are driving students to drink instead of making the
rational, safer choice to use marijuana. In doing so, they are fueling
the dangerous “culture of alcohol” on our nation’s college and
How many more alcohol-related incidents must
occur before we consider a new approach?
We call upon our elected
officials and fellow university leaders:
To support an informed and dispassionate public debate on whether it
would be more effective to provide students with an alternative to
alcohol instead of simply encouraging them to use less when they drink.
consider whether current laws and university policies, which punish
individuals more for using marijuana than for using alcohol, steer
students toward drinking and away from using a less harmful substance
To invite new ideas about the best ways to prepare
young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol and marijuana.
pledge ourselves and our institutions to playing a vigorous,
constructive role as these critical discussions unfold.