This past weekend, George Mason University’s WAVES office held an on campus event called “Pot Party.” It was held on April 20, at 4:20 PM.
And no, I am not making this up.
Here is the actual event description from George Mason’s website: “Come eat brownies, decorate pots and celebrate 4/20 by getting educated. Bring yourself and questions about marijuana and other drugs. *Per usual we will keep it real and event participants will follow all state, federal and local laws in addition to George Mason University Policies.”
Wait, what? Was this a pro-pot event? We all know what is implied when someone “celebrates” 4/20, and we all seem to think that “celebrating” may involve brownies or Doritos for some reason. In fact, these are common punch-lines to poorly written weed jokes. We’ve all heard them before. Some kid gets stoned on pot brownies and then decides to eat a lot of junk food. Yeah, yeah, yeah… So, what exactly is Mason trying to do?
According to pamphlets that can be found in the WAVES office, “all people are subject to being affected by [marijuana’s] negative health consequences.” It can cause “paranoia, distorted perceptions, and difficulty in thinking and problem solving… It can also promote cancer.”
Wow. If these things are true, then why is the WAVES office promoting events that fantasize about the humorous and light-hearted nature of pot culture? Clearly, Mason recognizes the tempting characteristics of marijuana use; the WAVES office gives away free brownies and Doritos in order to incentivize attendance at their event.
Mason holds these events because the administration feels compelled to address pot use as a public health issue. The more pertinent issue, though, relates to the University’s tyranny and mockery of the students.
If a student gets caught with marijuana on campus, the Office of Student Conduct enforces this sanction: “In addition to a one year eviction and trespass from campus residence halls, the standard sanction for a student’s first violation involving possession or use of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia is likely to be suspension from the University for a minimum of one academic semester.”
If you have ever known someone who has had this unfortunate fate bestowed upon them, then you may know the type of devastation that accompanies a one year eviction from housing and a one semester suspension from classes.
It is nothing for the WAVES office to joke about.
Sure, marijuana use has negative effects that people should be aware of, especially college students, but to turn an educational event about marijuana and its dangers into a comical mocking event is to laugh in the face of every student who has ever been kicked out of Mason or lives in fear of this happening to them.
It is time for George Mason to stop patronizing students. Change the drug policy, and let people live freely.