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SPEAKERS BRING MARIJUANA DEBATE TO UF

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The420Guy

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A stoner and a narc were pitted against each other in a "Great Debate" over the legalization of marijuana on the University of Florida campus Wednesday night.

More than 1,000 people - mostly students, and judging from applause and outbursts, mostly pro-legalization - turned out for the debate. Scores had to sit on the carpeted floor of the Reitz Union ballroom and many more had to stand outside the doors.

Steve Hager, editor of the counterculture magazine High Times, said marijuana should be legal to grow and to use because "it's good medicine" that drug makers want to keep illegal so they can keep selling overpriced synthetic drugs such as Ritalin. He also suggested that if marijuana was legal, the use of alcohol and tobacco would decrease because people would get the same effect without the hangover or headache.

Retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent Robert Stutman countered that while the chemicals that reside in the plant may one day be proven to be useful medically, smoking marijuana has always been shown to be harmful.

"The natural form of a drug is not necessarily the best," he said.

You wouldn't hear a doctor tell patients, "Eat some poppy seeds" if they needed morphine treatment, Stutman said.

Stutman cited a study that said marijuana is five times more likely to cause throat cancer than tobacco, and legalization would only lead to more users and more cancer.

Stutman said, "You don't have the right to do any ( drug ) you want to do" because drug users affect more than just themselves.

Hager said, "I think people should have the freedom to make bad decisions."

Stutman surprised the audience when he said "just because we made two mistakes" in legalizing alcohol and tobacco doesn't mean "we should add another drug into the mix."

In response to the applause the audience frequently showered on Hager, Stutman said it's hardly a shock that a college audience is pro-marijuana. With age, however, that would change, Stutman said. He even cited a recent media report where renowned rap star and former High Times "Stoner of the Year" Snoop Dogg said he was giving up smoking pot because he wanted to raise his family.

Hager and Stutman, who frequently said they respected each other's views, have been debating each other at colleges and universities across the country for more than a year as part of series intended to bring the issue of legalizing marijuana to students.

Both said people shouldn't face jail sentences for using the drug.

A stoner and a narc were pitted against each other in a "Great Debate" over the legalization of marijuana on the University of Florida campus Wednesday night.

More than 1,000 people - mostly students, and judging from applause and outbursts, mostly pro-legalization - turned out for the debate. Scores had to sit on the carpeted floor of the Reitz Union ballroom and many more had to stand outside the doors.

Steve Hager, editor of the counterculture magazine High Times, said marijuana should be legal to grow and to use because "it's good medicine" that drug makers want to keep illegal so they can keep selling overpriced synthetic drugs such as Ritalin. He also suggested that if marijuana was legal, the use of alcohol and tobacco would decrease because people would get the same effect without the hangover or headache.

Retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent Robert Stutman countered that while the chemicals that reside in the plant may one day be proven to be useful medically, smoking marijuana has always been shown to be harmful.

"The natural form of a drug is not necessarily the best," he said.

You wouldn't hear a doctor tell patients, "Eat some poppy seeds" if they needed morphine treatment, Stutman said.

Stutman cited a study that said marijuana is five times more likely to cause throat cancer than tobacco, and legalization would only lead to more users and more cancer.

Stutman said, "You don't have the right to do any ( drug ) you want to do" because drug users affect more than just themselves.

Hager said, "I think people should have the freedom to make bad decisions."

Stutman surprised the audience when he said "just because we made two mistakes" in legalizing alcohol and tobacco doesn't mean "we should add another drug into the mix."

In response to the applause the audience frequently showered on Hager, Stutman said it's hardly a shock that a college audience is pro-marijuana. With age, however, that would change, Stutman said. He even cited a recent media report where renowned rap star and former High Times "Stoner of the Year" Snoop Dogg said he was giving up smoking pot because he wanted to raise his family.

Hager and Stutman, who frequently said they respected each other's views, have been debating each other at colleges and universities across the country for more than a year as part of series intended to bring the issue of legalizing marijuana to students.

Both said people shouldn't face jail sentences for using the drug.

A stoner and a narc were pitted against each other in a "Great Debate" over the legalization of marijuana on the University of Florida campus Wednesday night.

More than 1,000 people - mostly students, and judging from applause and outbursts, mostly pro-legalization - turned out for the debate. Scores had to sit on the carpeted floor of the Reitz Union ballroom and many more had to stand outside the doors.

Steve Hager, editor of the counterculture magazine High Times, said marijuana should be legal to grow and to use because "it's good medicine" that drug makers want to keep illegal so they can keep selling overpriced synthetic drugs such as Ritalin. He also suggested that if marijuana was legal, the use of alcohol and tobacco would decrease because people would get the same effect without the hangover or headache.

Retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent Robert Stutman countered that while the chemicals that reside in the plant may one day be proven to be useful medically, smoking marijuana has always been shown to be harmful.

"The natural form of a drug is not necessarily the best," he said.

You wouldn't hear a doctor tell patients, "Eat some poppy seeds" if they needed morphine treatment, Stutman said.

Stutman cited a study that said marijuana is five times more likely to cause throat cancer than tobacco, and legalization would only lead to more users and more cancer.

Stutman said, "You don't have the right to do any ( drug ) you want to do" because drug users affect more than just themselves.

Hager said, "I think people should have the freedom to make bad decisions."

Stutman surprised the audience when he said "just because we made two mistakes" in legalizing alcohol and tobacco doesn't mean "we should add another drug into the mix."

In response to the applause the audience frequently showered on Hager, Stutman said it's hardly a shock that a college audience is pro-marijuana. With age, however, that would change, Stutman said. He even cited a recent media report where renowned rap star and former High Times "Stoner of the Year" Snoop Dogg said he was giving up smoking pot because he wanted to raise his family.

Hager and Stutman, who frequently said they respected each other's views, have been debating each other at colleges and universities across the country for more than a year as part of series intended to bring the issue of legalizing marijuana to students.

Both said people shouldn't face jail sentences for using the drug.

Pubdate: Thu, 24 Oct 2002
Source: Gainesville Sun, The (FL)
Copyright: 2002 The Gainesville Sun
Contact: voice@gvillesun.com
Website: : Local & World News, Sports & Entertainment in Gainesville, FL
 
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