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Taylor Johnston and Ellen Wagner make important decisions about the Post in the editors' office on the evening of Wednesday, February 5, 2020.

Editorial: Please fest responsibly

Fest Season is one of the most anticipated times of the year. As classes wrap up and exam season inches closer, spending the weekend with a drink in hand and nothing to focus on except restraining oneself from petting the police horses and not getting a public urination charge is a welcome break from the whirlwind that is the end of the semester.

With Fest Season’s kickoff coming up this weekend with Milliron Fest on Friday and Mill Fest on Saturday, it is important to remember that there are a lot of things that can absolutely ruin the fest experience. To ensure the utmost enjoyment, it is important to understand how to stay safe and what your rights are when something goes wrong.

The core idea of Fest Season is to spend the day outside, wandering around and drinking — often heavily — with friends. Although drinks are often spread throughout the day, most participants will still consume enough drinks for it to be considered binge drinking. For men, this is drinking more than five alcoholic beverages, and for women, more than four.

When drinking heavily, it is important to eat enough beforehand and keep water nearby throughout the day. Those who brag about not eating prior to a Fest end up accomplishing nothing and have to go home early, potentially making a scene in the process, whether it be by falling down, throwing up in public or just generally being belligerent.

Alcohol and marijuana are both frequently consumed during Fest Season. Drinking before consuming weed via any method often increases the high as alcohol allows for weed’s psychoactive ingredient to be absorbed more easily. Although Healthline explains the two can typically mix without causing any major medical events to occur, it is important for those less experienced with mixing the two to understand that there is always a chance that unfortunate side effects can occur when too much marijuana is ingested, especially in warmer temperatures that may lead to dehydration

Although consuming too much marijuana will not do much damage, it is an incredibly uncomfortable experience, characterized by lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness and vomiting. When this happens, it is important to stay calm and let friends know that something feels off. Drink some water, get something to eat, find a quiet place to sit or lie down and ultimately remember that it will pass pretty quickly, even if it seems like it will never end.

It is important to remember that although recreational marijuana has been legalized in Ohio, smoking weed in public remains illegal and people still must be 21 to have weed in their possession.

On the topic of technical legalities, it is important for students to understand their rights if they are detained during a Fest. The police cannot force one to answer any questions beyond identifying themselves if they witnessed a felony or are suspected of a crime. According to the Ohio State Bar Association, one can ask the police if they are being detained, and if the police say no, the police cannot force one to stay. If one is detained, they should tell the police that they intend to remain silent and then do so.

It is also important to never give an officer a fake I.D., as this will simply be tacked onto your underage drinking charge, only making the situation worse. In the same vein, BORGs are considered open containers, which are also illegal to have in public. 

Although arrests have been down in recent years, those that do occur are typically the result of fights or assaults, according to a previous Post report. The best way to combat this is to travel in groups and stick around friends to avoid conflict that one is not seeking out. This also ensures that no one who may be more intoxicated ends up on their own and is even more vulnerable to bad situations.

Beyond that, do not urinate in public, do not pet the police horses, stay safe and have a good Fest Season.

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