The Daily Gamecock

Carolina Productions hosts weed legalization debate

High Times editor, former DEA special agent face off

High Times magazine editor Steve Hager said the only side effects of marijuana were “dry mouth, red eyes, increased appetite and awesome sex” during Tuesday night’s “Heads vs. Feds” debate in the Russell House.

Carolina Productions hosted the humorous and, at times, intense argument concerning marijuana legalization that brought cheers and applause from students. The debate pitted Hager against Bob Stutman, a retired Drug Enforcement Agency special agent.

Hager, known as the “world’s most famous pot head”, opened the debate with five points on why cannabis should be legalized: health benefits, hemp materials, lower crime rates, decreased funding of drug cartels and cannabis’ centrality to hippie culture. All of Hager’s points were met with rounds of applause by visibly high attendees.

“I love being high as sh--,” said first-year music student Bret Donnelly. “This is awesome and just confirms what I’ve been telling everybody.”

Hager said that marijuana is completely safe in comparison to other drugs if vaporized or put in food. His main point was that cannabis is free health care that the pharmaceutical companies don’t want people to know about.

“Marijuana can be grown free anywhere under any circumstances, from Alaska to Argentina,” Hager said. “It can help with all kinds of diseases and the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want to lose business.”

Hager invited the audience to attend the annual National Rainbow Family Gathering, which typically takes place on a mountain meadow. Attendance, food and extracurricular activities are free and open to people of all races and beliefs.

“We have mainly vegetarian food and alternative health care,” Hager announced over cheers from the audience. “It’s a ceremony and a part of out culture. We’re just as American as apple pie.”

The High Times editor also said that hemp was the foundation of the early American economy and was used for paper, rope, clothing and many other items. George Washington was a marijuana user and encouraged farmers to grow hemp because of the plant’s versatility.

Stutman aggressively tore down Hager’s points, saying that the “world’s most famous pot head” doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction.

He especially focused on Hager’s claims of the magic of marijuana for medical use, pointing out that it is impossible to determine the correct dosage.

“There are over 400 chemicals in cannabis and only two of them have been proven medically beneficial,” Stutman said. “Instead of extracting these two chemicals, Steve is telling you to smoke the whole thing!”

Stutman also stated that people become dependent on cannabis and waste their whole lives away smoking dope. And with that, the debate really lit up.

“Why don’t we outlaw everything that causes dependence?” Hager questioned in a voice verging on shouting. “What about tobacco or alcohol? What about pills actually being prescribed by doctors that kids are getting addicted to every day?”

Hager said that marijuana does not cause the side effects of many prescription drugs when used responsibly and that people have used it for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

Once again, students sprung to their feet cheering as the debate went on for two hours.

“They both have really arguable points,” said business student Myron Hardin. “It was interesting to follow both sides and I learned about the positives and negatives of legalization.”

As the question and answer segment ensued, it was obvious that not many students were anti-legalization.

“First, I’d like to say that I wish I was one of your kids,” one student started off in a question directed to Hager.

Afterward, students lined up to speak with both Stutman and Hager to ask individual questions and opinions.

Hager enthusiastically signed autographs and took pictures, having people say their favorite strain of marijuana instead of “cheese”.

His favorite is Sour Diesel.