Column By Ben Kindlon

ben kindlonNew Paltz’s marijuana policy has been a topic of heated debate throughout the fall 2013 semester. Despite more lenient rules regarding the dankness on other campuses in the SUNY system, the administration here has stood firmly behind their two strike policy.

The Student Association (SA) has been spending an excessive amount of time working to change the policy to students three strikes before expulsion as opposed to only two.

As an advocate for the legalization of marijuana, I’m all for changing or, as I see it, updating the policy, but I don’t think that it is as prevelant an issue as many students and especially SA have made it out to be. By giving this much creedence to the sticky-icky-green-green issue distracts the SA from more important matters.

Their efforts are not worth the exorbitant energy expended on the issue, and could be better directed at more plausible and beneficial goals. If, after all the work the SA has put into changing the policy, they do succeed, all that will change is that students will be able to be caught smoking pot in their dorm rooms one more time before getting booted for their getting zooted.

Is one more strike really worth all this trouble?

I’ve always been a bit bothered by these “efforts,” and even more so by the “work” done by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws (NORML) and the Students For Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) groups on campus.

Both of my parents are defense attorneys and both are affiliated with NORML. Neither of my parents smoke ganja, but they fight to free non-violent drug offenders, i.e. potheads.

To SSDP  club members: it’s one thing if you want to blaze up in the privacy of your own home and mind your own business, not many people have a problem with it, from what I’ve heard — not even the cops.  But if you are going to put yourself in the public spotlight as an advocate for the legalization of marijuana and argue that its effects are more beneficial than harmful – don’t  undermine your argument with demon-red eyes, a skunky smell and a Facebook profiles full of drug-fueled heady festival pictures. NORML  meetings usually consist of half-baked discussions that lead to no actual action. To disprove the allegations that marijuana makes people lazy couch-dwellers, those advocating its legalization need to do more than sit on their couches and smoke weed while complaining about its illegality.