College Students: Marijuana Is SAFER Than Alcohol


Graphic: Madison NORML

​Students at more than 80 colleges across the United States are urging their universities to allow them to use marijuana, rather than the legal party substance, alcohol, as part of National Alcohol Awareness Month.

The students argue that stiff penalties for being caught in a campus dorm with cannabis encourages students to use alcohol and promotes binge drinking.


​The nationwide day of action was organized by Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), with the help of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and campus chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Students plan to distribute fliers comparing the relative harms of alcohol and pot, and carry signs and banners that read “This is NOT a joke… Let us make the SAFER choice!”, reports Jenna Johnson of the The Washington Post.
“It might be April Fools’ Day, but this is not a joke,” said University of Maryland student Zach Brown, president of campus pro-pot group, NORML Terps. “It’s time we stop driving students to drink and let them make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana when they party.”
A group of students affiliated with SAFER rallied on the Iowa State University campus Thursday afternoon. Holding signs saying “Stop Driving Us To Drink,” the students said campaigns to get students to “drink responsibly” aren’t working, reports
The students pointed to the violence and negative side effects associated with alcohol on college campuses, including binge drinking, sexual assaults and alcohol poisoning.
“That’s just not something that would happen with marijuana,” said Aaron Schoeneman, a freshman at Iowa State who helped organize the rally. “And it’s just, alcohol is such an unsafe drug, that we really should have a safer and rational choice.”
SAFER has helped students at 13 colleges pass measures calling on their schools to set penalties for marijuana as being no worse than alcohol violations, reports Dan Boniface at So far, none of the schools have changed their penalties, despite the student referendums.
Most colleges, even in states where medical marijuana is legal, ban on-campus marijuana use, even with a medicinal cannabis ID card.