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Emerald Initiative

The Emerald Initiative is SAFER’s response to the Amethyst Initiative, a call by more than 130 university presidents and chancellors to debate whether lowering the legal drinking age to 18 could reduce dangerous college drinking. It calls on college presidents and chancellors – particularly those who have signed on to the Amethyst Initiative and those at schools where SAFER Referendums have been adopted – to "support an informed and dispassionate public debate" on whether allowing college students to use marijuana more freely could result in fewer students engaging in dangerous drinking.

Read the letters sent to presidents and chancellors who have endorsed the Amethyst Initiative and at schools where SAFER Referendums have been adopted

CLICK HERE to see the survey distributed to the presidents and chancellors at those schools


It’s time to address the culture of alcohol on campus

Student alcohol use at our nation’s colleges and universities has reached epidemic levels.

The consensus among researchers, educators and policymakers is that a “culture of alcohol” on and around college campuses is largely responsible for the popularity, frequency, and degree of student drinking.

Yet efforts to change this “culture of alcohol” – which rely heavily on encouraging students to “drink responsibly” – have largely failed to address it and in some cases continue to fuel it.

College students are being driven to drink

It is time to explore the benefits of encouraging students to “party responsibly” rather than “drink responsibly.”

Alcohol and marijuana are by far the two most popular recreational substances available to college students.

Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it is far less harmful than alcohol both to the user and to society yet students face more severe legal and university penalties for marijuana use than they do for alcohol use.

Such laws and policies are driving students to drink instead of making the rational, safer choice to use marijuana. In doing so, they are fueling the dangerous “culture of alcohol” on our nation’s college and university campuses.

How many more alcohol-related incidents must occur before we consider a new approach?

We call upon our elected officials and fellow university leaders:

To support an informed and dispassionate public debate on whether it would be more effective to provide students with an alternative to alcohol instead of simply encouraging them to use less when they drink.

To consider whether current laws and university policies, which punish individuals more for using marijuana than for using alcohol, steer students toward drinking and away from using a less harmful substance instead.

To invite new ideas about the best ways to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol and marijuana.

We pledge ourselves and our institutions to playing a vigorous, constructive role as these critical discussions unfold.


If you are a college or university administrator, please return the completed statement and/or the survey, along with any attachments, via one of the following options:

E-mail: mail@saferchoice.org

Fax: (303) 861-0915

Mail: SAFER, P.O. Box 40332, Denver, CO 80204

Latest Updates

Students on 80+ campuses participate in Nationwide Day of Action

The Emerald Initiative: SAFER's response to the Amethyst Initiative

Students adopting SAFER Referendums on campuses nationwide


Latest News

The Harvard Crimson: A Toke for Good Health?
April 14, 2010

Daily Aztec (SDSU): Group claims marijuana is 'safer'
April 13, 2010

The Vermont Cynic (UVM): Students argue alcohol worse than marijuana
April 12, 2010

The Maneater (Mizzou): NORML proposes Emerald Initiative to administration
April 9, 2010

San Francisco Chronicle: The Pay-Any-Price Principle
April 9, 2010

KNTV NBC 11 (CA): College Kids: Let Us Smoke Pot
April 8, 2010

Huffington Post: College Students Nationwide: Allow Marijuana as a Safer Alternative to Alcohol
April 8, 2010

Columbia Missourian: MU students rally for legalized marijuana
April 8, 2010

Columbia Missourian: MU students ask for change in marijuana use policy
April 8, 2010

AkronNewsNow: KSU Students Rally For Marijuana
April 8, 2010

KBIA 91.3 FM: MU Student Group Rallies for Equalizing School Marijuana and Alcohol Policies
April 8, 2010

The New Hampshire (UNH): Don't drink, smoke instead
April 8, 2010

The Met (MSCD): Colorado's Marijuana Culture: Cannabis Conundrum
April 7, 2010

Central Florida Future (UCF): Penalty for pot, alcohol may become equal
April 7, 2010

Central Florida Future (UCF): Punishment should fit crime
April 7, 2010

Akron Beacon Journal: KSU rally will seek lenient marijuana policies
April 7, 2010

... more news

SAFER Campuses Initiative • P.O. Box 40332 • Denver, CO 80204 • 303-861-0033               A Project of SAFER