After watching the Broncos decimate the Ducks in Autzen Stadium, I was impressed with how well their fans took the loss. We wished them the best as we made our way out of the stadium and across the river. Upon reaching the end of the footbridge, I noticed that a local glass artist had set up a table to sell pipes in front of several thousands of football fans making their way across the river.
“I figured after the loss everyone would want a little pick-me-up,” the seller said when asked why he was selling in full public view.
The culture in Eugene and Springfield, Ore. is certainly different than in Idaho. Not because marijuana is legal in Oregon, but rather because it’s decriminalized.
Oregon doesn’t deal with marijuana, like other illicit drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines, by handing out large fines and prison time for simple possession. According to law.findlaw.com, Oregon has no jail time and a fine of $500-$1,000 for possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
Currently Idaho has rather harsh statutes concerning marijuana. Simple possession of less than 3 ounces lands you up to one year in prison, up to a $1,000 fine or some combination of the two. The threat of jail-time is what really separates the two states. Imagine if drinking underage landed you in jail for five months and a $600 fine instead of only a fine of up to $1,000.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, marijuana is illegal because it provides no medical benefits, reduces the user’s capacity to learn and impairs driving.
I don’t know if anyone has told the DEA this, but there is a legal drug that we can all get our hands on quite easily that does all of those things: alcohol.
When questioned about the apparent double standard, most students I asked couldn’t think of a reason why marijuana is illegal and alcohol is not.
One student, Sarah Posey, was quick to answer when she said, “If marijuana is illegal, tobacco should be too.”