Alexandria Chapin / Lantern reporter
It might have been the pot leaf on the fliers posted around campus or the promise of free food that attracted about 65 people to the largest OSU Free Enterprise Society meeting to date.
OSU Free Enterprise Society has been a student organization for more than a year but gained popularity with its most recent topic of discussion: legalization of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs.
Every chair was full in the Central Classroom meeting room Tuesday, while others hovered standing in the back.
“We just want to give people an opportunity to have some of these discussions,” said Brian Marein, president of OSU Free Enterprise Society. “We’re not trying to advocate these ideas. We’re not trying to force them upon people.”
Marein, a fourth-year in economics and Spanish, said this group is not focused on legalization of drugs but on economics as a whole.
“We really emphasize the benefits of free markets,” Marein said. “We have discussions like this simply to kind of explore free market principles.”
Marein said drugs is a topic that can interest students, and if engaged in conversation, they could start to understand how the market works.
“Like supply and demand and different principles like that,” Marein said.
Adrian Waikem, a third-year in accounting, is the treasurer for the organization. She said she knows Tuesday’s discussion topic was controversial, but the organization has no plans to tone down the conversation.
Waikem said other topics they are planning include anarchy and gun control.
“My goal is to show people that the government is not always out for your best interest,” Waikem said. “A lot of people think things are bad just because they’re told, and I want people to really think for themselves.”
The meeting started with a short presentation by the organization leaders, then they opened the floor for discussion.
Dylan Young, a second-year in re-exploration, said he attended the meeting to get different viewpoints.
“I support legalizing all drugs,” Young said. “But I’m against taxing. It would drive up the price creating a black market.”
Johnny McElroy, a first-year in marketing, said he could support the legalization of marijuana to stimulate the economy and create new industries but not any other drugs.
“I think some of them go too far in saying all drugs should be legal,” McElroy said.
Marein said he did not want people’s values to weigh into the conversation.
“It was difficult at times because people want to bring in their emotions and their values and we’re trying to avoid that,” Marein said. “Economics is a value from science. We were more looking at the feasibility of the war on drugs rather than the morality of it.”
The organization plans to meet biweekly on Tuesdays and will discuss new topics each meeting.
Marein said after Tuesday he is “extremely happy and optimistic about what else we can do.”
“It’s important for a college campus to be open to all sorts of different ideas,” Marein said.