Drug Policy

4/20 or Fight

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SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) criticizes University of Colorado at Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano for warning students away from the school's April 20 marijuana smoke-out:

"We find it hard to believe that a large group of college students and other community members standing around on a field using marijuana is somehow more dangerous (or damaging to the school's reputation) than a far larger group standing around and getting drunk at a school-sanctioned tailgate party prior to a CU football game," said SAFER Executive Director Mason Tvert. "After all, there has never been a single incident of violence or any student in need of being transported to detox at CU's calm and peaceful 4/20 demonstrations, whereas CU football games tend to entail hundreds of serious incidents, several arrests and a number of students being taken to detox."

In other 4/20-related news, on tax deadline day last week Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, posed in front of the General Post Office in Midtown Manhattan with "an oversized $14 billion check made out to the US Treasury Department." The sum represents an estimate of the taxpayer money saved by repealing cannabis prohibition, plus the revenue from a tax on legal marijuana. (You could also add the tens of billions of dollars that pot smokers would save as a result of eliminating the artificially high prices caused by prohibition, money that would then be available for saving, investing, or spending—a.k.a. "economic stimulus.") Today NORML launched a nationwide TV ad campaign seeking new members at "the celebratory one-day price of $4.20."

A couple of years ago I explored the excise tax potential of legal pot, arguing that the real bonanza would be the consumer savings. I also noted speculation about how 4:20 and 4/20 acquired their cannabis connotations.