Driving People to Drink?!

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KENT, OH (WOIO) - Here's a new one.  College students across the nation are rallying to get high.

On Thursday, April 8, students at Kent State University will recognize National Alcohol Awareness Month by taking action on their campus to urge the university to stop driving them to drink and allow them to use marijuana as a safer recreational alternative.

The day of action is in conjunction with students at more than 80 colleges and universities across the country -- including Ohio State University -- who participated last Thursday, April 1, while students at Kent State were on spring break.

The students argue that laws and policies on and around most college campuses punish students more harshly for marijuana use than for alcohol use, steering them toward drinking and away from using marijuana -- a far less harmful substance -- instead.

Along with distributing information about the relative harms of alcohol and marijuana on campus, students will also visit the office of University President Lester A. Lefton to deliver her the "Emerald Initiative" -- which they will urge her to endorse -- and a copy of the book, Marijuana Is Safer: So why are we driving people to drink?

The Emerald Initiative is SAFER's response to the Amethyst Initiative -- a statement endorsed by more than 130 college presidents and chancellors, calling for "informed and dispassionate public debate" on whether lowering the legal drinking age to 18 would reduce levels of student drinking and incidences of the serious problems associated with it. The "Emerald Initiative" calls on these same presidents and chancellors -- as well as others -- to support "informed and dispassionate public debate" on whether allowing students to use marijuana more freely could reduce dangerous drinking on and around college campuses.

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