Skip to main content

If Marijuana is Dangerous, How Come No One Gets Hurt at These Huge 4/20 Parties?

Submitted by smorgan on
This year's 4/20 holiday was bigger and bolder than ever before, generating big headlines, big web traffic, and really really big pot parties. Even the Drug Czar participated by suggesting the holiday is dangerous and warning parents to keep a close eye on their children. But for all the fanfare, no one got hurt on 4/20.

I don't think one could possibly overstate how revealing that simple fact really is. Scanning the 4/20 news coverage, one fails utterly to find examples of the sort of negative outcomes we've been told to expect when people use this drug. Last week, more people got more stoned more publicly than any other day of the year. If pot is dangerous, this would be the time to learn that lesson in stark terms. So where are the hospitalizations? The fights? The car accidents?

In Boulder, CO a turnout of 10,000 produced no arrests or mishaps. This means not only that police were ignoring open marijuana use, but that the users were remarkably well behaved under the influence of the drug. They didn't fight, steal, damage property, or do anything else that would have forced the police to take action. Out of 10,000 people at a completely disorganized marijuana-themed event, nothing went wrong at all.

Similarly, at UC Santa Cruz a crowd of 6,000 led police to express embarrassment at their failure to suppress marijuana culture. And again, there were no arrests made for any offenses of any kind. Arrests and injuries are typical at sporting events, but not these giant impromptu 4/20 pot parties.

This quote from the Santa Cruz Sentinel illustrates that point nicely:
Monday, some readers and callers to the Sentinel expressed shock that police knew what was going on and yet nobody was arrested as they drove away from the gathering, apparently under the influence of marijuana.

Grant Boles, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol in Aptos, said the CHP made no arrests Sunday…
Amazingly, the California Highway Patrol had an uneventful afternoon on the biggest pot-smoking day of the year. I guess no hippies crashed their cars that day. No one swerved over the yellow line and got pinched for DUI. You can bet we'd know about it if they had. I'm not saying people should get stoned and drive. I'm asking where to find the carnage we've been told to expect from stoned drivers.

So often, we're told that if we change our marijuana laws, everyone will get stoned and it will be horrible. Yet, when marijuana is used gratuitously by massive crowds at unsanctioned events, negative outcomes are extraordinarily rare. The drug is simply not effective at hurting people.

The whole "marijuana is harmless" argument for reforming marijuana laws certainly has its limitations, but damn, look how amazingly safe marijuana is! Wow!

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.