Special Reports

Safer alternative

Thanks for starting the conversation about excessive drinking. It would be incomplete without addressing alcohol's competitor in recreational imbibing: Marijuana.

Medical, criminal and sociological data show alcohol's a greater social harm than marijuana: It's more dangerous to the user's health, and it's associated with violence, sexual assault, and other mayhem (as opponents of "State Patty's Day" know).

Marijuana's associated with none of these problems. It's disturbingly easy to ingest a fatal dose of alcohol; with marijuana it's physically impossible. Also, the medical journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology published evidence that marijuana protects the brain against alcohol.

Students who choose alcohol on State Patty's Day are making a rational decision: They compare the legal risks of drinking to those of using marijuana, and make the logical choice given our current laws, which penalize alcohol infractions (even underage drinking) less than marijuana infractions. In this way, our laws encourage the more deadly choice: Alcohol.

Let's change our laws to stop criminalizing the safer choice: Marijuana. If every undergraduate drinker chose marijuana instead, this town would be a safer and quieter place for everyone. It's not allowing another vice; it's allowing a safer alternative.

Tom Bowler State College