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Delbar Mamedzade: Annual Extravaganja festival sending conflicting messages to Amherst students

To the editor:

Extravaganja, the annual rally for the legalization of marijuana held by the UMass Amherst Cannabis Reform Coalition, has many students in the local community confused.

As these festivities were being planned and conducted, students at Amherst Regional High School were being told about the dangers of this illegal drug and why we should never use it under any circumstances. Since 7th grade all of us have heard the “do not smoke marijuana” spiel from our health educators. We are taught that the consequences of being caught with an illegal drug are grave and that it must be avoided at all costs.

For one Saturday in the year however, marijuana brings hundreds of people together on the Amherst Common. Purchasing, smoking and ingesting marijuana not only becomes legal, it becomes a celebration.

For many students, the Extravaganja rally is quite conflicting to what they have been told. Marijuana use suddenly becomes legal on the common as police look the other way. What is most confusing of all is that Amherst educators encourage their students to stay away of drugs and alcohol, but at the same time the town of Amherst allows this marijuana festival to take place just across the street.

It is time for Amherst town officials, educators other community members to assess the value of holding a marijuana rally every year.

Delbar Mamedzade


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