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Marijuana is Illegal, But it Doesn’t Have to be

The Amethyst Initiative is a coalition of college presidents who believe we should consider lowering the drinking age to help address the harms of underground drinking. It's great that they understand how the law creates unintended consequences, but listen to what they have to say about the idea of equalizing penalties for marijuana and alcohol:

The leader of the Amethyst Initiative, John McCardell Jr., president emeritus of Vermont's Middlebury College, says there's a big difference between the two debates.

"The fact is marijuana is prohibited across the board. It's not a matter of age discrimination, as where alcohol is concerned," he said. [AP]

Huh? Underage drinking is illegal just like marijuana. What's the difference between reforming alcohol laws vs. marijuana laws? The fact that marijuana isn't legal for anyone serves only to illustrate how marijuana laws are even stupider and more incoherent than the arbitrary drinking age of 21.

I understand that these folks might prefer to avoid getting caught up debating a separate issue, but if they don't wanna talk about it, they don't have to. He could have declined to comment instead of trying to draw ridiculous distinctions. The bottom line is that our marijuana laws are a constant source of insanity and injustice on college campuses and it's bizarre that these college presidents would have the courage to question the drinking age while failing to confront the extremely similar problems posed by marijuana prohibition.

Anyone who thinks 18-year-olds should be able to buy liquor ought to be open to some kind of marijuana reform. Seriously.
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Quite the contrast

between the desire of these college presidents to protect their alcohol using students from any legal problems due to their drinking and their indifference to the much worse legal problems faced by their cannabis using students. Typical alcohol using hypocrites only interested in protecting their own. And their job presiding over institutions filled with 18-22 year olds makes it crystal clear to them how much more deadly and dangerous alcohol is than cannabis. They just don't care. They can call it what they want, I say their bigotry is showing.
Or can one of them manage to give a clear explanation of why alcohol users deserve to be treated so infinitely better than cannabis users? This crappie little war on cannabis has been going on for more than 70 years, and every one of those days, in so many life and death ways, alcohol proves itself to be far more destructive. P-r-o-v-e-s. The science is clear.
If President Obama and his admin don't know this yet, they should, and they will before we're done.

Many Moons Ago

I recall going to visit a relative in VT. I guess they've since raised the drinking age from 18 (hmm… 18, that was nearly 25 year ago!). I remember the drinking age in MA being 21. I also recall our family going to visit my mother's great aunt in VT after I was 18 and I was so excited my parents were going to allow me to buy something alcoholic at the store.

First, unlike in MA, they sold beer in the grocery store. So I bought a 6 pack of something, I can't really remember. I'm not even sure I liked it! :-) But it was one of those rights-of-passage.

I was a pretty straight laced kid, so I drank it with my parents, in moderation, with meals while visiting her aunt. I always thought it was weird that one state allowed me to drink at 18 but the state I lived in was going to make me wait another 3 years!

To this day I remain convinced that because my parents drank in moderation, and on occasions like this, allowed me to join them, I approached alcohol with respect and as a beverage with food vs. a drug to get wasted on.

I continue to believe that the best way for kids to "learn" to drink properly is not when they're off at college under lots of peer pressure, but at home with their parents in a familiar environment.

By the way, I agree with you about marijuana too.

They are "fighting" reactionaries who think that continuously trying to put things out of college-kids' reach is going to work. Kid gets drunk on campus and dies during hazing? Raise the age, get tough. The only thing though, like so many point out, how many kids die in a marijuana-smoking hazing-ceremony? Darn frats! :-)

unintended by whom?

There are no unintended consequences here, it is all part of a very well documented platform for selective enforcement targeting minorities and social critics.

The government may be many things but stupid or niave they are not. Inventing crime serves them well. It is all about power and control with the things you go on about minor collateral damage in their eyes.

The sons and daughters of the hegemonic rulers do not go to jail for such offenses, we even had one for President of the United States for 8 years.


So, um, when exactly is this bitch going to step down or replaced? Any info Scott?


Good question. The

Good question.
The Administration announced the`"War on Drugs" is over but they leave an aggressive Drug War career DEA employee and Bush appointee in charge of the DEA.

The Amethyst doesn't have it quite right

I'm not sure we want The Amythest Initiative going to bat for us. All social studies have shown that when you lower the drinking age, it causes more DUIs, more alcoholism, more lower age binge drinking. Of course, that's on a national level--I think the folks at colleges like Middleofnowherebury have a much stronger case for themselves--they're in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but imbibe, and why shouldn't they? Colleges should probably have the right to their own drug laws (drugs which are/(should be) legal by fed standards) in order to keep their students out of legal trouble, because they're going to consume and inhale anyway. In no way do I think lowering the drinking age will keep college students from getting trashed all the time. In Europe, lower drinking ages are augmented by enhanced public transportation which keep more drunk drivers off the streets (and if they're caught they're fucked royally). That needs to be an issue as well.

Regardless, colleges should be very concerned about drug reform. I know many students whose futures have been jeopardized by arcane drug laws that treat responsible adults like juveniles, whereas if a more sensible policy had been in place, they'd have simply inhaled, detoxed, and moved on with their school work.

"All social studies have

"All social studies have shown that when you lower the drinking age, it causes more DUIs, more alcoholism, more lower age binge drinking."

No they don't - not ALL, just the ones done with the express purpose of getting that result.

Alcoholism and abuse are a societal problem, not an age or alcohol problem.
Drinking has a commercial/party abuse component placed on it in this country - that's the core problem.

I agree

The Amythest Initiative is NOT an ally. NOT. This will not bode well for the movement, these are not parellell issues. We need to distance ourselves from them as fast and as far as possible.


Charles Lynch

June 11th. That is sentencing day for him. If we as a community can take the #1 ranked question in the white house, then why aren't we seeing alot of play on this site, MPP,Cannabis Culture,DPA, or NORML? David,Scott we beg of you, use your media muscle and lets have the DOJ stop this insanity.

Think about Charlie as we celebrate Memorial day fellas, If we keep quiet on this subject, it may be the last Holiday for Charlie for a long time.


lower drinking and pot smoking age to 18

Both of the movements to lower the drinking age and legalize marijuana fought side by side in the mid 70s during the height of the revolution. And when the days' of liberation happens, one will happen right after the other. This will be sign of the sequel of the 2nd American Revolution.

Both alcohol and cannabis prohibitions were implemented

illegally. We all know which corporations and cartel made the prohibition fraud happen.We all know that some depraved and sick criminally insane people were and still are keeping prohibition terrorism going as a part of mass MK-ULTRA mind fragmenting venture to keep double standards in place so people wont believe that the people behind wars against people and drugs are mass serial murderers,eugenecists,and terrorists. sad but true

Thanks Robert, for inspiring me to write DOJ about Charlie Lynch

I had written DOJ about him once before but I let it weigh longer on my mind this time before I wrote. I suggested that even if they had to give him some kind of long sentence, community service would be better than borrowing more money to jail him and that the jail cells had to be saved for violent criminals and people who preyed on children

Marijuana is not illegal!

The illegal government that fraudulently prohibits it is.

I think that MJ should be

I think that MJ should be legalized because it is a plant that grows wild all over the planet and is proven to hold medicinal propeties. The little punk brats that are what we call the government should stop being obsessed over money an take it back to the basics and smoke a fat bowl and watch the world go as it realy should.

But Gary!

Dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine is a legal class two drug! And, Diacetyl-morphine is just another form of pain medicine, much weaker than Fentanyl! Yeah, Heroin by any other name is not "horse"!

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