Event mocks marijuana celebration with light-hearted drug references

Hosted by WAVES, the Pot Party educated students about the risks that accompany marijuana consumption and possession while pro- viding materials to paint flower pots. (MICHAEL CASHELL/BROADSIDE)

Hosted by WAVES, the Pot Party educated students about the risks that accompany marijuana consumption and possession while pro- viding materials to paint flower pots. (MICHAEL CASHELL/BROADSIDE)

On April 20, the Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education and Services office held a mellow get-together to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs.

4/20, a day notorious for its association with marijuana consumption, provided the WAVES office with a platform upon which to educate the campus community about the risks associated with using or possessing cannabis.

Aptly dubbed a Pot Party, the event’s coordinators utilized one of the substance’s more colloquial monikers as a double entendre, emphasizing the gathering’s intentions while explicitly stating its main activity: painting flower pots.

“WAVES has both large scale and small scale programming,” said Lindsey Hammond, the education coordinator for the WAVES office who used the Pot Party as a way to approach students and provide them with literature about the risks of marijuana use and to offer education and support to students who are affected by drug use. “As well as one-on-one consultations with Licensed Clinical Social Workers who can work with students either in or out of the office.”

With the atmosphere of an Amsterdam coffee shop, the relaxed attitude of both the staff and the guests helped to open up an honest dialogue about marijuana.

After check-in, students were treated to a buffet of staple stoner munchies – brownies, Doritos and Capris Sun – providing a tongue-in-cheek nod to 4/20’s traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Afterward, to the gentle rhythm of reggae music, attendees were given the option of painting small, ceramic pots while they lounged.

Unlike a real pot party, this event gave more than it took.

Guests left with food, knowledge and a crafty, personalized pot, as opposed to lung and heart complications and an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

Amongst WAVES’ many educational programs, there are also events such as the Great American Smokeout, which is held on November 15.

The “Smokeout” is a day hosted by the American Cancer Society that is focused on “encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.” This applies those who smoke tobacco or marijuana.

The Pot Party, just like the Smokeout, promoted the idea of abstaining or quitting smoking.

However, WAVES aimed the educational resources and support to those who regularly smoke marijuana.

According to the literature provided by the WAVES office, “[marijuana] can promote cancer because it has 50-70% more carcinogens than tobacco smoke.”

“Marijuana raises heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours,” stated the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website. “In one study, it was estimated that marijuana users have a 4.8-fold increase in the risk of heart attack in the first hour after smoking the drug.”

But regardless of the negative health effects cannabis can have on a person’s mental and physical health, it is hard to ignore the pro-legalization marijuana campaigns cropping up in the United States and around college campuses.

With 18 states, and Washington, D.C., currently allowing the medical use of marijuana, there is an obvious debate between pro-legalization of marijuana or keeping the drug illegal.

WAVES does not shy away from tackling heavy issues such as marijuana and drug use.

In the week of April 29 there are two events dedicated to promoting healthy sexual relationships and putting a stop to harmful rape culture.

April 24 is Denim Day, a day dedicated to protesting against misconceptions that surround sexual assault. April 25 is the 17th Annual Victims’ Run and Walk.

A university tradition, the proceeds for the 5k race go to “support the George Mason University Victims of Violence Fund and the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Program.”