May 1976

Note to readers: This article is printed for historical interest only. Student opinions are their own and their opinions about numbers of users are guesses.

Law on pot unfair?
by Marge, Gail, Karen

   In 1919, America stool on the threshold of a new era--the national prohibition of alcohol. Led by the forceful Carry Nation, Americans had been indoctrinated to believe that if alcohol were banned "Men will walk upright, women will smile, and children will laugh." Congress, true to its penchant for legislating against the use of drugs, made the consumption of alcoholic beverages illegal.
   Because America does not learn its drug lessons well, 50 years later we are in the middle of another drug controversy that has many parallels to the alcoholic situation. This controversy, of course, is the national marijuana prohibition.
   When asked about different ways they were involved with marijuana, students seemed uneasy about answering. What percent of Maine students smoke pot? Drink? A sophomore girl replied: "At least 55 percent of the school smokes pot and 96 percent must drink. More students would smoke pot if the risk wasn't so high."
   One boy, who felt that he was incapable of estimating the percentage of the school, said, "About half of my friends smoke pot, and all of us drink."
   These percentages are much higher than the estimates of Officer Thorson. He stated, "Only two percent of the student body smokes pot and 55 percent to 60 percent drink."
   Nine out of ten students felt that prison sentences for small amounts of marijuana were too harsh, and pot should be decriminalized.
   So, is marijuana really so bad? Doctors differ in their opinions. Some reported that pot can do physical damage, for example, destroy brain cells, cause insanity,, and lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Others reported that pot does no harm at all and can be a miracle cure for glaucoma.
   Officer Thorsen's opinion once again clashed with the majority of student views. He felt sentencing should stay the same because of the many reports that marijuana is harmful to the mind and body and can be damaging to a smoker's surroundings.
   The most controversial question of all was whether a student smokes pot or whether he's tried it. One girl '77 stated, "I've smoked pot for about three years. I'm not a juvenile delinquent or a flunky. Pot to me is more civilized. Because when I'm drunk, I'm uncoordinated and can become belligerent. But after I smoke pot, I'm in total control of myself and my actions."
   A '79 graduate defensively replied, "No way would I touch the stuff. Too risky! When it's legal, maybe. But not before."
   Summing it up, a '76 graduate said, "Sure, I smoke pot once in a while, but after you're over the experimental stage, pot is no more of a thrill than alcohol."