April 20, 2007

Pot Advocates Celebrate 4/20

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While it may seem like any other Friday to some, to others, today – 4/20 – is a day that couldn’t have come soon enough.
“Yeah, I’m definitely going to roll a fatty and smoke a doobie,” said one Cornell student, gearing up for today – a day on which many Cornell students will smoke cannibis, marijuana, weed, pot, grass, Mary Jane or ganga – however you choose to refer to it.
April 20, which some consider to be a holiday, marks a day on which many students will light up and get high, although some students are not really sure why.
“I think it has to do with the number of leaves on the plant, that’s what someone told me,” said one student who plans to “light up in the evening, because I have to work tomorrow afternoon.”
According to Steven Hager, editor in chief of The High Times, who spoke to ABC News in a “potcast,” 4/20 has been used as a way for marijuana smokers to communicate.
Hager also said that marijuana smokers are a “minority that suffers persecution.”
According to Hager, 4/20 originated in Southern California in 1971 when several students at San Rafeal High School, not far from the Grateful Dead headquarters, began smoking marijuana at approximately 4:20 p.m. regularly after school.
Hager further said in the “potcast” that 4/20 is a national holiday for this counter culture of the 1960s and that this counter culture “has a sacrament, and that sacrament is cannibus.”
While many students may plan to smoke today, they may also have to plan for the consequences of smoking marijuana, which is illegal. Not only could potential celebrants be arrested, but they may also face financial hardships.
The Drug Provision, also referred to as the aid elimination penalty, was added as an amendment to the Higher Education Act in 1998. The provision denies federal aid to students convicted of drug-related crimes.
According to Students for Sensible Drug Policy, since the aid elimination penalty was added in 1998, nearly 200,000 aspiring students have been blocked access to aid. SSDP maintains that many of these students were convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana.
According to Daniel Chisena ’07, president of the Cornell chapter of SSDP, “SSDP does not encourage drug use, especially drug abuse, but does not condemn it either.” Chisena believes that the War on Drugs is actually a “war on Americans,” and that a revised drug policy would prevent students from using drugs rather than simply imposing penalties on them.
Although Hager is encouraging 4/20 marijuana smokers to consider peace as their motivation for smoking today, it may not be on the minds of all Cornell students.
When asked yesterday why she was planning to smoke today, said one Cornell student “Um, because I don’t have class tomorrow.”