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Editor’s note: This opinion piece accompanies the piece A few reasons not to hate the hippies, also published on April 20, 2009.
Dear Mother Nature,
Hi, my name is Cheng Sio and I’m writing to you, ma’am, because I need your help.
In the past, I never believed in you, but this is neither the time nor the place to be proud of my own beliefs. Instead, it’s time to do what’s right.
Mother Nature, I need you to rain out April 20.
On that day, also known as 4/20, students at the University of Colorado, old folks who want to relive the ‘60s, and people from all parts of the U.S. will descend on the CU campus to have a marijuana smoke-out.
In case you didn’t know, ma’am, marijuana is wrong and illegal.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse Web site, this is what marijuana causes:
• Problems with memory and learning.
• Distorted perceptions of sight, sounds, time and touch.
• Having trouble thinking and problem-solving.
• Loss of coordination.
• Intoxication, a dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, some loss of balance and a slower than normal reaction time. Blood vessels in the eye expand, so the user’s eyes look red.
I already have problems with the first four points because I think, as a country, we’re NOT getting any smarter.
But the last point bugs me the most because when 10,000 smokers make their way to Norlin Quadrangle on April 20, as they did last year, they will pollute the air with unwanted chemicals. As a result, not only will they inhale marijuana smoke, but innocent people who want no part of 4/20 will also inhale it simply by being in the area.
It’s one thing to be a pot smoker celebrating 4/20, but it’s wrong to endanger the lives of others by smoking your illegal drugs in public.
The unfortunate thing is that nothing I say and nothing the authorities do will keep the smokers from using on 4/20.
CU Spokesman Bronson Hilliard said that although the school doesn’t condone the event, they don’t want to turn 4/20 into a mess.
“What we try to do is not turn it into a confrontation with law enforcement,” Hilliard said. “Even though we don’t like the event, what we want even less is a big ugly confrontation with law enforcement. It’s not necessary, it’s not the image we want to portray and that’s not the tone we want to take.”
Who can blame the school? If they take any serious action, it could turn out to be the equivalent of Tiananmen Square. No one wants that blood on their hands.
Then there’s the penalty for this petty offense. CU police Cmdr. Tim McGraw said it’s the lowest level of crime in Colorado and that the punishment is a $100 citation.
“We can’t jail or take them into full-custody,” McGraw said.
In other words, it’s a slap on the wrist made worse by this…
“How do we enforce (smoking regulations) with 10,000 people at one moment,” Hilliard asked.
Although CU is taking the safe approach, it’s also the right approach. The lawbreakers know this, which is why I’m enlisting your help, Mother Nature.
Ma’am, I’ve seen you cancel outdoor activities – much to my dismay – such as baseball games and concerts with inclement weather. In 1992, I lived through Hurricane Andrew and the damage you inflicted to all of South Florida.
All I’m asking, ma’am, is that from midnight to 11:59 p.m. on April 20, please bless the pot smokers in Boulder with a non-stop torrential downpour like the ones I’ve witnessed when I was living in Florida. If they are wet, how can they light up?
Mother Nature, you’re my last hope,
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Cheng Sio at Cheng.firstname.lastname@example.org.