Soapbox: Public drug use on campus not a major problem

Friends of my parents used to always tell me, after one too many funky monkeys, “Emry, if you’re going to get into drugs, do it in college. In fact, just get all the stupid stuff out in between the time you pull out your student loans and the moment they give you that diploma.”

It’s well known and documented that college has long symbolized a certain epoch of the American life, one of experimentation and discovery.

Bellevue College isn’t renowned as a party school, in fact, quite the opposite. This correspondent wanted to know whether the drug use at BC is rampant, though I do not think it is disproportionate compared to surrounding colleges.

BC’s drug users were more than happy to share a reality that might make some administrators nervous. Last week the Watchdog ran a news article on this exact subject.

Anonymous interviewees, Rocksy, Nacho, Laser and Jay revealed to the student press the assortment of illegal and quasi-legal things they consume to help their day pass.

Rocksy admitted to snorting cocaine in the school’s restrooms. I imagine the rainy day forays that must occur in BC’s public bathrooms while the lay-student is relearning the Pythagorean Theorem and the proper application of a first-person participle. Perhaps Rocksy pulls out one of those physics textbooks with ripples in water, making little marks in the waxed paper with a razor blade.

Though he is a recreational user of an assortment of uppers, downers, and all-arounders, Rocksy wishes that less conspicuous users would contain themselves better. This is a common sentiment among public drug users, because they don’t want authorities to catch on to the locations and methods of their consumption, and yet drug use can often be accompanied by a loss of social filters and reasoning.

For Nacho, the craziest drug he’s ever taken part in at the school would probably be smoking DMT behind the school.  For those who have ever smelled this powerfully hallucinogenic organic compound in its concentrated form, there’s nothing more potent than the sickly sweet plastic aroma of DMT. Imagine the law abiding citizen, walking down to Eastgate Park and Ride, only to be accosted by one of the most singularly strange smells on Earth, a smell that digs into the cerebellum like something is being mummified and some strange man is pulling your brain out through the nose.  This person would doubtfully ever grasp the psychedelic lapses occurring from where this smell originates.

Jay and Nacho both believe that legal persecution is as fruitless as the prohibitions of our forfathers, and I am unable to disagree. Persecution never eliminates a thing, instead pushing it into the shadowy hands of unregulated dealers.

In many ways, the legalization of private use of marijuana is a huge step forward for this community. One of the largest differences between a licensed dispensary and some gang banger buying pot from Mexican Cartels, is that if the dispensary threatens a life, there is legal reprisal. No more meetings inside a dark alley to swap out money and drugs with a tattooed bald man that has a gun, only to find out later that you’ve been screwed and handed a bag of tight moss.

Can public use find legitimacy as legalization has? Perhaps not, but at least in this state the authorities seem to have come to a quiet agreement with users like Nacho,  Jay and the rest. As long as it isn’t seen, as long as it doesn’t embarrass the police or whoever else, it’s largely ignored.

This still leaves a huge legal grey area where a user can fall through the gaps simply by getting on the wrong side of the wrong person. Should, or can public use be legalized? Probably not. But it could, and should, be decriminalized.