This is the reason Judy Yassin, a sales representative for PEPCO, went to a Saturday night fund-raiser for decriminalizing marijuana:

"Twenty dollars wasn't a bad price," she said, her armed draped around a man at the bar of the Golden Booeymonger. "I mean, it costs $10 to get into the Appletree -- right? And it's $3 a drink once you're inside."

At the Booeymonger, she got an open bar, live music from Catfish Hodge and free hors d'ouevres. "Oh my God, look at that," Bob Crawford, a mailman who drove 90 miles for the party. He was watching another tray of ham and cheese on rye or white go by. "Grunt down time," he said.

The official reason for the party was to raise money for the D.C. Marijuana Initiative, a loose group of people led by lawyer George Farnham who want to put the question of marijuana decriminalization on the Nov. 4 presidential ballot here. To do that, they need 12,000 valid signatures and lots of money for advertising.

The goal was to net $4,000 to $5,000 on Saturday night. Judging from the 500-plus people at the $20- to $25-a-head fund-raiser, they probably came close.

Guests wandered on two floors of the rented-out Dupont Circle restaurant.Eating, drinking and dancing occurred on the first, more drinking occurred on the second, and marijuana smoking and vigorous mingling occurred on both.

"Face it," a man in a houndstooth jacket was saying to a thin woman with silver shoes and Farrah-like hair, "between a man and a woman, that is the essential and absolutely important part of a relationship." What "that" actually was wasn't entirely clear, especially since the woman's response was drowned out by Catfish Hodge and the surrounding melee.

Some selections from the melee:

"I'm very unique," said Sara Crowley, a Bethesda hairdresser who wore a black spaghetti-strap dress. "I get into something different all the time. I like to try everything. Life is too short."

"I'm into sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll," said a man who wore a pink button lauding the same items. He gave his name only as Allan.

"Excuse me madame," said a pleasant-looking young man named Tom Lima. "I would like to ask you a personal question." The madame appeared receptive. "What is your favorite animal -- dogs, cats, or elephants?"

The madame thought a moment, then decided upon elephants. "Would you hold my drink for a moment?" he said, relieving himself of his rum and Coke. "Excuse me a moment," he then added, "while I make an elephant."

Which was done, from a pink balloon. The madame took it, and gave it to another pleasant-looking young man.

"This party is too respectable," said Allan, the sex and drugs man, a little later. "Where's the drunken debauchery?"