Experimenting with Dope

“When are they going to legalize pot?” The Breeze, February 5, 1970.

Drugs on Campus

Both Joe Carico and Susanne Myers, alumni of Madison College, suggested in their guest presentations that marijuana was readily available on campus in the 1970’s – and that it wasn’t something only the freaks were trying. This information is confirmed by a short article in the Fixer that reads, “A janitor found 9 ounces of dope Friday, taped under a sink in a bathroom in Eagle dorm. Police are now combing the area for more dope” (Vol. 3 No. 3). For a stash of dope that large to be discovered offhand, there had to have been quite a large, healthy market for sellers. Further evidence of a drug presence on campus appears in this ad from the Breeze: breeze 9:14:1979 p 6 BONG. The Body Shop sold clothing, shoes, and bongs! This furthers the notion that all elements of counter culture – dress/style, drug use, and music were infused with hippie ideals.

Fixer Vol. 4 No. 4.

The Fixer often made references to drug abuse – whether in jest as in the ad above, or in a serious way. For instance, revisit the article written by Les Hammond included on the Harambee post [here]. In it, he explains that the students plan to host an information session on the truth about all kinds of substances.

The Fixer also ran a series of articles entitled, “Drug Abuse” which taught readers what effects different substances induce and provided advice for taking the drugs responsibly. See an excerpt here.

Again, the use of drugs was not something that was limited to a radical minority in the seventies. Though we associate marijuana use with the iconic hippy, young people of every social clique experimented with smoking dope. This only serves as further proof that the idea of the radical hippie on Madison’s campus is exaggerated. The set of ideas attributed to hippies – free love, nonconformity, anti-war, drug use, etc – were infused throughout all of popular culture in the seventies. Essentially, partaking in some of these aspects of popular culture did not necessarily make one a hardcore radical.

Works Cited:

“9 Ounces of Prevention Helps!” the Fixer Vol. 3 No. 3.

Carico, Joe, “Class Lecture,” History 337 Local History Workshop, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, April 9, 2012.

Myers, Susanne.  “Class Lecture.” History 337 Local History Workshop.  James Madison University. Harrisonburg, VA. April 2, 2012.