As I strolled through the quad on an absolutely breathtaking April afternoon last semester, something caught my eye on the sidewalk I was trekking over. My opposition to wearing corrective lenses led me to believe that what I thought I was seeing simply did not exist. However, upon further examination, I discovered a rather peculiar drawing gracefully imprinted on the University sidewalk. The red ink stencil included a marijuana leaf and the letters “THC.” For those who don’t know, THC is the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, that special sauce in those marijuana cigarettes that all the kids seem to be getting groovy on these days.
At first I thought maybe it was present there on the University sidewalk for an upcoming hippie rally or something of that nature, but no date or location of such a fun-loving freedom funk fest was visible. After noticing a few of these obviously pro-marijuana stencils in and around the quad, I began to wonder exactly what University officials thought of this rebellious yet subtle undertaking. Tour group after tour group of prospective students and parents were stumbling over these stencils quicker than you can say “This bong is cashed,” and no one seemed to be doing a thing about it.
The University’s lack of reaction to these substance stencils have led me to believe that the school’s image regarding drug policy is not a top priority. The relaxed attitude regarding this outcry for the espousal of marijuana may be turning away the highly-regarded prospective students, at least the ones that are not busy grooving to crunchy jams while helplessly awaiting a Phish reunion tour.
With Illinois in line to be one of the next states to allow medicinal marijuana in the near future, I am not surprised at the existence of such stencils at the state’s largest public university. However, even with the current marijuana craze in this country, I find it surprising that the University has not even attempted to remove these stencils from its public walkways. This liberal mentality regarding marijuana on campus may result in some heated debates in the years to come as medicinal uses of the drug become more prevalent. With a new president taking office at the end of the year, changes might be made regarding drug policy and people will be forced to choose sides on the subject matter. Soon enough, citizens nationwide, smokers and non-smokers alike, will have to decide which side of the marijuana fence has the greener grass.