Conference on World Affairs: The Harmless High

Conference on World Affairs: The Harmless High
Posted by CN Staff on April 15, 2007 at 07:06:08 PT
By Ben Horowitz
Source: Campus Press 
Colorado -- Much to the dismay of university officials, each year on April 20 thousands assemble at CU's Farrand Field in order to support marijuana reform laws in what has become an infamous public celebration of cannabis culture.Last year, hundreds of students smiled for the cameras, unknowingly taking part in what campus police have called "4/20 Ground Zero 2006." Though police do not traditionally issue citations on this day, those caught engaging in illicit behavior had their photos published online with a $50 reward offered for each individual identified.
With a serious of panels addressing drug prohibition, legalization and the failed war on drugs, it is at this juncture that the 59th annual Conference on World Affairs can intervene and offer insight into the nature of this social and legal predicament. Friday afternoon's panel entitled, "4/20: The Harmless High" featured Patrick Anderson, Sanho Tree and David Watts engaging a packed room at the museum in a critical discussion of marijuana politics, policies and the various misconceptions surrounding the drug. Tree is the director of the Drug Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., and has been in many documentaries pertaining to the failed international war on drugs."The more you fight it, the worse it becomes. Price, purity and availability are at a record level of failure in this war. Something's not going quite right here," Tree said.Though Watts is a returning CWA participant, he was embarrassed to admit to his fellow panelists and to the audience that it was only moments before the panel began that he learned the meaning of "4/20." Watts is a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco in addition to being an acclaimed poet and a musician and has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered;" in the past he's been invited to serve on panels related to spirituality and poetry.In addressing the topic of whether marijuana consumption is harmless, Watts demonstrated his preference for philosophical discourse."Is it harmless? Is any high harmless? Is anything we do in life harmless? A successful life is about balance, knowing what you can and cannot take on in a responsible way," he said.A former speechwriter for the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Anderson focused his discussion on the political origins of marijuana related studies and how various misconceptions have since surfaced and become the dominant methodology for all those opposing marijuana reform laws. Anderson revealed the details of the first ever politically funded studies conducted by President Nixon's administration in 1972, which concluded that it would be sensible to decriminalize and legalize marijuana; Nixon rejected the findings.For the first half-hour panelists took turns speaking and then dedicated the remaining 50 minutes to audience questions and dialogue. An audience member briefly explained to the panel CU's recent combativeness in opposing the 4/20 festivities and then asked the panel how they'd recommend the university proceed this time around."I'd ignore it," Anderson said, a response met with a resounding applause.Chuckling, Tree added, "You know, there are more effective things for kids to do to fight drug prohibition than go out and smoke pot in public." Note: Final day of CWA concludes with discussion of pot politics.Newshawk: The GCWSource: Campus Press (CO)Author: Ben HorowitzPublished: Sunday, April 15, 2007 Copyright: 2007 Campus Press Contact: jaclyn.grossfield Website: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #1 posted by greenfox on April 16, 2007 at 07:18:04 PT
" Though police do not traditionally issue citations on this day, those caught engaging in illicit behavior had their photos published online with a $50 reward offered for each individual identified. "Ok so basically they can no longer do the job, so let's PAY people to narc other people out. Sweet. What a way to spend tax payer's money. Bounty-hunting on pot smokers. That makes a hell of a lot of sense.
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