UF Group Advocates Marijuana Use

  UF Group Advocates Marijuana Use

Posted by CN Staff on November 26, 2002 at 07:43:46 PT
By Katherine McFarland, Alligator Staff Writer 
Source: Independent Florida Alligator 

A new student organization working to be a recognized chapter of a national marijuana legalization group campaigned Monday on the Reitz Union Colonnade to recruit members.The group is working to become Florida’s newest chapter of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
NORML is the oldest and largest marijuana legalization organization in the country, a nonprofit advocacy group funded by donations and membership fees, which lobbies state and federal legislators to legalize marijuana.Thirty-seven states have at least one NORML chapter and Florida boasts seven, including one at the University of Central Florida, University of West Florida, University of South Florida, Florida Atlantic and Florida State universities. Josh Manning, president of UF’s soon-to-be official chapter, said The Swamp is next. “We’re trying to raise public awareness to the point where the public see that smoking marijuana is a normal thing,” Manning said. “So that if legislation in our favor comes at the local or state level, there will be enough support to approve it.”Manning said the group is about 100 students strong and about 75 more expressed interest Monday. He said now that UF has a NORML organization, he can submit paperwork to the national NORML office to make the group an official chapter.“We want to put on awareness events and be active in local government first,” Manning said, adding that there are issues on campus demanding attention, such as smoking marijuana in dorm rooms.“You’re breaking the law just as much if you’re drinking in the dorms,” Manning said. “And you can lose your financial aid if you’re caught with marijuana.”Politics aside, Manning said the group will have fun events too, including a “Progressive Pow Wow” campout with NORML chapters at UCF, FSU and FAU at the Suwannee River Music Park and Campground in December.He said the group plans to bring more guest speakers, similar to Accent’s “Great Debate” with Steven Hager, editor of High Times magazine since 1988, and Robert Stutman, former New York Drug Enforcement Agency chief.Manning said some people did not agree with the group’s efforts Monday and said their group had no potential.“I try to just talk to them, let them know what we’re about and some just walk away,” Manning said. “But most people don’t have a problem with a responsible adult smoking marijuana in the privacy of their own home.”The Florida NORML Web site claims the state’s top three cash crops are oranges, marijuana and sugarcane, respectively and lists the NORML platform: Smoking marijuana responsibly is OK in a proper setting, respecting others, but not for children, not while driving and not in an abusive manner.Treasurer Matt Jones said he and Manning were friends before they decided to start the chapter and said his commitment to the project runs deep.“It’s an issue I really believe in,” Jones said. “I believe in personal rights and as long as they’re not hurting anyone I believe that people should have the right to smoke marijuana.”Jones said new members of the chapter pay $10 dues to be members at the national level. The usual price is $25, but the national office is allowing the fledgling chapter to keep the money.Jones said they will use the money to promote the club and pass out informational pamphlets and fact sheets with hard numbers showing support for the movement.Manning said the group will put up a Web site in January, when they likely will be made an official chapter, but until then, students can check out -- -- or come to the first meeting Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. in Reitz Union Room 282.Source: Independent Florida Alligator, The (FL Edu)Author: Katherine McFarland, Alligator Staff WriterPublished: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 Copyright: 2002 Campus Communications, Inc.Contact: letters alligator.orgWebsite: NORML Archives

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Comment #2 posted by CongressmanSuet on November 26, 2002 at 22:35:11 PT:

 The people of tomorrow are the ones who will someday be in charge. Well, what the hell happened? It seems like we gain some ground, and all of a sudden we are back to square one. My generation has turned its back on Cannabis and developed a geuine love for booz! Its really pretty disgusting, and totally what we have to look forward to for some time. OOOH I dont want to break the LAW...chicken chit idiots...
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Comment #1 posted by TroutMask on November 26, 2002 at 10:02:44 PT

A sign of the times
The future is evident: Are pro-legalization groups growing fewer in number, is the number remaining steady, or are they increasing? The question may be most pertinent in colleges, as the college students of today are the leaders of tomorrow.-TM
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