The New Face of Mary Jane

  The New Face of Mary Jane

Posted by CN Staff on April 20, 2007 at 09:00:15 PT
Source: Diamondback 

Maryland -- Today is the 20th of April. To many, today may just be another day on the calendar, but to some, this is the holiday of holidays. Like the generations of marijuana users before them, today's class of pot users is embracing their affection for that enchanting, ageless Mary Jane, by continuing a long legacy of marijuana love on 4/20.
But unlike the original hippies of yesteryear, today's current mix of blunt-rolling, bong-hitting, joint-twisting reefer lovers have taken up the hobby at a time when marijuana's role has undergone drastic changes in American culture.After years of being just another college pastime, the resurgence in the popularity of marijuana on the campus hit home last year when a Student Government Association referendum found 65 percent of 4,376 student respondents supported more lenient pot penalties. The resurgence was further cemented in August, when High Times magazine gave the university its top honor for being a "counterculture" school.And when the Residence Halls Association passed legislation in February to lower dorm punishments for marijuana smokers to that of standard alcohol penalties, heads began to turn as a growing student movement of weed supporters suddenly shook the stigma of red-eyed, lackadaisical potheads. Instead, the effort has begun to resemble a well-oiled lobbyist machine."Sophisticated, organized and savvy" is how Steve Petkas, Resident Life's associate director for student and staff development, praised the leaders of student groups on the campus who have fought to lessen marijuana restrictions. Petkas says that because of these efforts, the legislation passed by the RHA now sits on the desk of Resident Life's director, who is expected to announce her decision on the legislation's future in the coming weeks. With a growing reputation as a competent lobbying operation, today's generation of marijuana advocates is showing the ability to make a distinction between the drug's stigma and the lifestyle associated with it, something almost unheard of when the most organized protests for marijuana rights here consisted of lighting up in front of McKeldin. But despite the more polished advocacy efforts, some decry that the once-deep cultural element behind the reefer has taken a step back. With the traditional role of marijuana up in smoke, some say that what was once a unified counterculture of tokers looking for spiritual awakening has splintered into a generation of smokers with a variety of rationales for embracing the green. "There was a time when experimenting with drugs had as much to do with spiritual enlightenment and expanding your mind rather than having a fun weekend," said Jo Paoletti, an American studies professor who remembers watching her classmates pass joints around on her college campus in between classes. "It seems to me one of the things missing."Gone are the days when Jimi Hendrix captivated crowds with his a guitar in his hands and a joint in his mouth. Bob Marley may be a staple on dorm room walls and on T-shirts, but few know that the reggae legend stood for more than smoking weed and having a good time."Even in the '70s it seemed more of a way to thumb your nose at the establishment, but it didn't have anything to do with looking inside of your own mind," said Paoletti, explaining that even a decade after it had become widely popular in the '60s, the drug had lost its ideological connotations. "Each generation has its own culture and environment," she said. "Today, they're so used to being plugged into information 24 hours a day. How do you unplug from that? Where do you escape to?"Paoletti said that one of the biggest changes between her generation and today is the way law enforcement has cracked down on its use, an issue that has sparked some controversy. Both sides of the marijuana legalization debate use statistics about prison populations that support their positions. Proponents of more lenient marijuana policies say that harsh penalties have flooded prison populations with inmates whose only infractions are marijuana charges and who pose little threat to society. The Office of National Drug Control counters with surveys that show most inmates with marijuana convictions are also in prison for other, more serious crimes. In any case, most agree that pot smokers have never succumbed to "just saying no.""The thing about our generation - we're what's called the DARE generation, and we had all of that really scary 'just say no to drugs' propaganda thrown at us," said Stacia Cosner, President of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, who most credit for the legislative progress in reducing marijuana restrictions on the campus. "I feel like a lot of young people are confused as to why the law enforcement takes this so harshly."So what will Cosner, the ambassador of the DARE generation, be doing today in honor of the big 420? Smoking a fatty? Staging a protest?Nope. "I'll be at a grant-writing workshop," she said. Source: Diamondback, The (MD)
Published: April 20, 2007Copyright: 2007 Maryland Media, Inc.Contact: opinion dbk.umd.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on April 20, 2007 at 19:17:01 PT

Go Terps
Each of strives for enlightenment in our own way. We have to go through numerous incarnations before we get it right. Psychotropic substances can help along the way. Gotta take that journey to the center of your mind. How can one proceed unless they are shown the way? Congrats also to U of M for their top honors as counterculture school. Go Terps. Be excellent to one another.
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