Hazy, Lazy Day for Stoners

Hazy, Lazy Day for Stoners
Posted by CN Staff on April 20, 2006 at 07:10:21 PT
By Roxana Hadadi 
Source: Diamondback
Maryland -- Junior communication major Hassan Afzal started celebrating his now-favorite holiday at the age of 15, meeting with a group of friends after school to hang out and relax. And after six years of tradition, weeks of preparation and 364 days of waiting, Afzal is set to have one of the best days of the year.It’s too late for Easter and too early for Christmas, and instead of curling up with the fam, Afzal will be smoking up, munching on barbecue and chilling with his friends — the plan for many a pot smoker on the campus.
Afzal is just one of many students who will celebrate 4/20 today, the annual holiday for marijuana smokers nationwide.Thanks to the two-thirds of those who voted in the Student Government Association election last week to loosen the punishments for marijuana use among students, 4/20 revelers hope the campus is one step closer to acknowledging the smokers in its midst and the culture surrounding their favorite pastime.Because the campus already has a reputation as a “party school,” the lessening of marijuana punishments would not drastically affect campus culture, students added.“[Maryland] is a party school — it is a school where a lot of people get drunk, but marijuana is everywhere,” Afzal said. “I’ve learned it by observing how many people are just like me.”The resounding student support for the marijuana referendum catapults this university into ranks with the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, the University of Texas and Florida State University, which have student bodies that passed similar referendum — and administrations that have kept current policies strictly in place.But freshman communication and studio art major Stacia Cosner hopes the university will be the first school to loosen the student punishments. As vice president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Cosner lobbied for the referendum and helped plan the all-day event going on in Stamp Student Union today.Although Cosner does not plan to smoke today, she spent weeks planning the 4/20 festivities, which will include live music and comedy, an art show, a “baked sale,” a screening of the stoner classic Half Baked and a raffle for subscriptions to the magazine High Times.“Our event is obviously trying to promote other activities,” Cosner admitted. “But, we only advocate the use of off-campus, private, responsible adult use. We are not promoting everybody having this huge party. If you’re going to smoke before you come to the event, then walk home!”For the majority of smokers, today is an opportunity to relax with friends and simply enjoy a spring day — while also trying a new type of marijuana or purchasing new paraphernalia for the occasion, Afzal said. After attending one class this morning, Afzal plans to skip the rest and celebrate with a few beers and a good smoke, he said.Matt Zernhelt, a freshman letters and sciences major and a leader of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Terps, added that the events in Stamp will also include a question and answer session with a lawyer who will comment on Busted, a movie that can be beneficial to many smokers, he said.“[Busted can be] very useful for a pot smoker because it goes through different situations of police encounters and shows the best way that you will be able to handle the situation and keep yourself out of trouble,” he said.Since last year’s 4/20 festivities, University Police have issued slightly more than 100 drug violations, according to the Daily Crime and Incident Logs from 2005 to 2006. For students caught with drugs such as marijuana, a one-year suspension and expulsion from campus housing is practically definite, according to campus policy.Keeping himself out of trouble is exactly what sophomore landscape architecture major Zachary Dilworth will be doing today, as he is one of the students who has been caught with drugs and expelled from campus housing. Currently under a drug testing program, Dilworth does not plan to smoke today but looks forward to observing other students who will be high, he said.“We’ll see how many wear cannabis clothes and how many people are falling sleep in class and eating Cheetos,” he said. “People do not realize how widespread the use and support of cannabis is.”According to drug and crime statistics from 1993 to 2003 from the Bureau of Justice, 33.7 percent of all college students surveyed had used marijuana in the past year, 19.3 percent in the past month and 4.7 percent had smoked daily in the past month.But many students also said they support the marijuana referendum because alcohol — what they consider a far more hazardous substance than pot — is already legal. So, students said, why shouldn’t marijuana be as well?“I feel like most students who do use it ... use it responsibly,” said Dave Shaughnessy, a freshman letters and sciences major. “Unlike alcohol, you don’t see potheads going around and getting into barfights.”Zernhelt agreed. “That is just one of my reasons why I think cannabis is such a safer alternative,” he said. “It’s more of a passive drug that does not cause the ruckus that happens with alcohol. The only side effect I see is a well-needed nap.”Whatever plans students have today, Zernhelt hopes they will act responsibly and remember that despite the passing of the referendum, students can still be punished for their 4/20 actions, he said.“I’d like to wish and hope everyone can have a good time ... and enjoy themselves, and if they so wish smoke cannabis, but make sure that they stay responsible and careful,” he said. “It is still illegal, and [whether you] want it to be or not, you have to accept that fact.”Note: Smokers hope for more liberal punishments.Source: Diamondback, The (U of MD Edu)Author: Roxana Hadadi Published: April 20, 2006Copyright: 2006 Maryland Media, Inc.Contact: opinion dbk.umd.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by Truth on April 20, 2006 at 09:42:16 PT
the tree of life
Happy 4.20 everyone
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 20, 2006 at 07:56:30 PT
Have a great day! Happy 4:20!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 20, 2006 at 07:55:00 PT
I'm glad we help but please be careful out there. We don't need anymore martyrs. No more martyrs. I can't stand seeing activists hurt. Have a Happy 4:20 and know that even though they fight us our culture LIVES!
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Comment #2 posted by Christen-Mitchell on April 20, 2006 at 07:47:07 PT:
Boulder 420 in Central Park
The party of the year in Boulder is today's 420 Frolic at CU'S Farrand Field. The destructive prohibitionists may try to change the tune. It is rumored that pepper spray will be used on the lawn to deter revelry. That will simply mean a meander over to Folsom Field or one of many alt locaations.Created last year as an opton for adults that weren't into tresspassing on University property for purpose of unlawful excercise of God given freedom is the 420 in Central Park, near the Bandshell.Oh, the Bandshell itself might be nice, but not an option is a $150 permit, $900 of event insurance and a city mandated $35 an hour amplified sound technician.So, at HighNoon, you might spot an old f**king hippie setting up a 10' blue canopy where volunteer street musicians can cop some shade as they perform for the underclass crowd estimated to be just a hundred or 3 throughout the day.Freedon shouldn't have to be legislated, but the Colorado Marijuana Initiative will do just that, to allow for adults to possess and enjoy an ounce in their homes. Registered voters will be invited to endorse the petition to put the measure to the voters on the November 7th ballot.Dozens of participants will be sporting Million Marijuana March T-Shirts, which in their zig-zag way promote a promising protest taking place May 6th.So we'll see what the day brings to the public celebrants of Life's greatest gift to mankind. We all know the greatest danger to marijuana smokers comes from nonsmokers.Wishing Peace and Freedom for All.
Hemptopia: Towards Our Greener Future
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Comment #1 posted by paulpeterson on April 20, 2006 at 07:35:57 PT
Greetings, Friend of Marijuana, from the frontier-Northwest Iowa, that is, so far behind enemy lines that no-one wants to even acknowledge they know me, let alone share my views towards decriminalizing the entire county.I have submitted my ordinance and have a followup meeting with the county board of supervisors Tuesday the 25th.Something interesting happened when I setup that date last week, though-they told me the Chairman of the Board wants to meet with me personally to discuss the ordinance terms.We spoke on the phone yesterday and made plans for him to come to my mom's farm tomorrow afternoon to discuss same. Finally I get to speak off-camera and behind the proverbial closed doors.Interestingly enough, there was a meth drug deal that went bad a week ago and a shooter shot two other men. The guy turned himself in and there was an "eyewitness news" camera in town for "man on the street" opinion. I got on KCAU TV Channel 9 on the 10 O'clock news with a prosecutorial discretion comment. When I told the guy (off camera) about my decriminalization plan, he merely said "cool". I have emailed him about the board meeting and hope he shows up to film the event.Now, please recall that we have one of the 7 federal tokers in this town-she has had MS for 18 years and has taken NO DRUGS other than the green salve-she can still walk and see partially. She just celebrated her 50th birthday-was told she would never see 50 because of the MS.She told me once the same guy I will meet with tomorrow picked her up and carried her into a voting booth. At the last meeting with the board, he asked me "what do you want us to do". My friend knows this guy quite well and tells me that means he will help to move this along.So far I have gotten some 25 editorial comments in the paper in the past three months, 5 of which are marijuana related items. I have been careful, of course, to rant long and hard against drinking and driving-today's editorial rants against meth. which gives marijuana a bad name by association.Please note that on this hallowed day, the Illinois Senate is still debating a substantial rewrite of their medical marijuana code. Minneasota is working on this as well.You people on keep finding more and more articles to print about the war that is turning our direction-thank you for your hard work there.Of course, I will update you with any further information I can add to the "fire". Wish me luck. Signing off. PAUL PETERSON
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