April 21, 2009

On 4/20, Libertarians Protest Fed. Laws Against Marijuana

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4/20 was more than just a day of munchie-filled happiness for some students. Yesterday, the Cornell Libertarians held a protest on Ho Plaza titled End Drug Prohibition in honor of the annual pro-marijuana holiday. The protest, calling for marijuana legalization, was attended by the members of the club with a few onlookers outside the Straight yesterday afternoon. Members of the Libertarians wore signs that read “Let Freedom Blaze”, “Free People Free Choices” and “End the Drug War.”
President of Cornell Libertarians Michael Cretz ’11 explained the group’s goal was to bring these issues relating to individual liberty to the attention of Cornell students.
“We just wanted to voice our opinion and bring this issue to light,” Cretz said. “I feel like people at Cornell especially are open-minded. This is an issue that people at Cornell can relate to.”
Members of Cornell Libertarians are concerned that the government of the United States has overstepped its bounds in a wide range of political areas and believes that individuals must be cautious in giving up their rights to the government.
“We’re just trying to show that the Libertarians are on campus and here’s one way we relate to the Cornell community,” Cretz explained. “We believe that Cornell students have the right to do whatever they want with themselves.”
Cretz went on to say, “We feel the drug war is the wrong type of thing to have a war on, we believe that people have the right to smoke marijuana. I personally do not smoke marijuana, but I support that right and I just think that its wrong that the government tries to get so involved in our lives to actually prevent us from doing something to ourselves.”
Andrew Loewer ’09, former president of Cornell Libertarians, said he supports the legalization of marijuana mainly because the government’s excessive use of resources in regulating marijuana use.
“A lot of people think it’s a bummer that you can’t smoke marijuana on a Saturday night, but they don’t necessarily realize that the government is spending billions of dollars in resources that can be used elsewhere,” Loewer explained.
“We can use the issue of the war on drugs and marijuana being illegal to talk about broader issues: such as, should you be able to consume whatever you want? Should you be able to put marijuana in your body? Should you be able to put trans fats in your body?” Loewer asked.
Loewer went on to say, “Essentially, we’re spending a lot of money and we’re putting a lot of people in prison for doing little more than ingesting a substance. These are victimless crimes, they’re not hurting people, and they’re diverting real resources that could be used doing any number of things,” Loewer said.
“The government could be putting the money back into the pockets of Americans. They could use it to help the economy right now. Instead it’s being used to keep people from their basic rights,” Loewer said.
Raihan Faroqui ’10, who walked by the protest in Ho Plaza. shared his personal views on the drug war and the related issue of legalizing marijuana.
“I empathize with the public outrage over the hypocrisy in the government legalizing alcohol and tobacco — much more dangerous drugs — but not legalizing marijuana,” Faroqui said. “However, I fear that legalizing marijuana will set a dangerous precedent enabling other public movements to legalize other currently outlawed drugs.”