Marking Alcohol Awareness Month, Group Promotes Marijuana as ’Safer’ Alternative

This is probably not the kind of commemoration the founders of National Alcohol Awareness Month had in mind: among the groups marking the annual April campaign is Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), which is encouraging college students to smoke marijuana rather than drinking alcohol.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported April 1 that SAFER events were planned at more than 80 schools nationwide.

Pro-pot activists say that schools promote use of alcohol — which they say is the more dangerous of the two drugs — by imposing penalties on marijuana use that far exceed those imposed on students caught drinking underage.

“The purpose of this day of action is to really show that there’s a growing movement of college students who are fed up with policies that punish them for making a rational choice,”said SAFER executive director Mason Tvert.

SAFER has organized what it calls the Emerald Initiative to support their position; the name echoes the Amethyst Initiative, a campaign to lower the U.S. drinking age with the intent of preventing binge drinking and alcohol-related injuries. Tvert said that signatories to the Amethyst position paper were sent the Emerald Initiative, but none endorsed it.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy and NORML college chapters helped organize the SAFER campaign.

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