In case you missed it | Of bongs and Benson




Of bongs and Benson

You might have missed the Nov. 3 launch of a campaign to get a marijuana legalization measure on the 2012 ballot in Colorado. The event at the Best Western Boulder Inn featured former Boulder County commissioner, former Boulder city councilman and Boulder Weekly columnist Paul Danish speaking on “The Politics of Cannabis Relegalization.”

But you don’t have to miss the next event of the campaign. The CU-Boulder chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy is holding a conference on legalizing marijuana and reforming drug policies from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 6, on the CU campus … in Room 180 of the Benson Earth Sciences Building.

Yes, that’s the building that right-wing CU President Bruce Benson funded. So we called his spokesperson, Ken McConnellogue, and asked how Benson feels about having a pro-legalization event not just on campus, but in his building. Here is the reply: “While he personally doesn’t agree with the legalization of marijuana, he absolutely thinks that a college campus is the place to have that kind of discussion, so he’s fine with it being in the Benson building.”

If you attend the event you’ll hear from, ahem, high-profile speakers from the legalization movement like Rick Doblin, founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies; Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy; Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER (the Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation); Steve Fox, director of state campaigns at the Marijuana Policy Project; and Brian Vicente, executive director of Sensible Colorado.

Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for non-students. Register at events/2010-mountain-plains-regional-conference.

Demon rum

Speaking of marijuana, a study published in the respected British medical journal Lancet demonstrates that alcohol is more dangerous and destructive than illegal drugs, including heroine and crack cocaine.

British experts evaluated the impact of a host of drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, crack and heroin, focusing on how the drugs hurt individuals and how they hurt society. And they came to the conclusion that everyone who’s ever been close to an alcoholic already knows: Alcohol is the most harmful and most dangerous to society out of the bunch, with drugs like marijuana and LSD ranking far down on the danger scale.

The study, funded by Britain’s Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, points out that alcohol not only hurts drinkers, but also those near them. Rather than suggesting that their study ought to bring about a return to alcohol prohibition, researchers said it might instead be used to rethink the way illegal drug use is treated.

It’s the same thing recreational pot smokers have been saying for years. While alcohol is associated with more crime than any other drug, marijuana is associated with a high consumption of junk food. Allowing the former to be legal while the latter lands you in prison is absurd.

Evangelicals back off — a bit

Good news: Religious harassment of non-Christians is down at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. A survey of cadets found that 41 percent of those who identify as non-Christian said they had to put up with unwanted proselytizing at least once or twice in the preceding year.

Academy brass told the Associated Press that this percentage represents a decrease from previous years. Hallelujah!

Religious intolerance at the Academy was brought to the public’s attention in 2004 when more than 50 cadets filed complaints alleging that Christian students bullied and verbally abused them for not being Christian. One Jewish cadet reported being called a “filthy Jew” and being told that the Jewish people were responsible for killing Jesus. Others report having been told they would burn in hell if they weren’t “born again.”

Maybe some evangelicals at the Academy are starting to get the point. After all, the same law that protects their right to believe that Jesus is the Son of God is the same law that gives others the right to be Jews, Wiccans, Buddhists, Muslims, Zoroastrians and even atheists.