Annual Hash Wednesday Takes To Quad

Annual Hash Wednesday Takes To Quad
Posted by CN Staff on April 15, 2003 at 23:05:04 PT
By Leslie Hague, Senior Writer
Source: Daily Illini
Several student groups plan to hash out marijuana issues on the Quad today.Today is "Hash Wednesday," an annual protest of the illegality of marijuana in the United States. Speakers, skits, bongo drummers and a "Hemp Fashion Show" will be some of the events from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m on the north side of the Quad.
This is the first year that three new drug law reform groups on campus will participate: Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and Legalize It."Traditionally, in the '70s, it was just a big smoking day," said Danielle Schumacher, president of the University chapters of SSDP and NORML. "We're trying to make it more serious."For the past five years the University ACLU has sponsored the event, but several groups were added as co-sponsors this year, said Kevin Miller, co-president of the University ACLU. While in the past the event has focused broadly on civil rights, this year it will focus exclusively on drug legalization, Schumacher said.The groups want people "to realize that government prohibition of drugs, but especially marijuana, causes more harm than it cures," Miller said.Schumacher began the University chapters of SSDP and NORML in November. She said she wanted to educate people on human rights violations that occur while the United States fights the "drug war" and the amount of money the government spends punishing drug dealers and users.Kate Stepanski began the Legalize It group this semester. She said she thinks many students on campus use drugs, but are underrepresented in terms of registered organizations."If you walked around the Quad on Quad Day, there weren't a lot of groups that dealt with drug use," she said.Her group pushes for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in the United States."It shouldn't be something that's hidden," she said. "If it was more out in the open, people would be more responsible about it."The groups do not support people bringing marijuana to the event, Schumacher said."In general, the people get arrested because they're stupid and bring drugs to the Quad," she said.There will be people around all day to discuss drug issues with anyone interested, she said."We just want people to be educated on drugs," she said.The groups will be circulating a petition in favor of U.S. House Resolution 685, which would revoke the "drug provision" of the Higher Education Act of 1998. The act states that a student who has been convicted of "possession or sale of a controlled substance" will be ineligible for federal grants, loans or work assistance. The bill was introduced on Feb. 11 and was referred to a House subcommittee March 3.Source: Daily Illini, The (IL Edu)Author: Leslie Hague, Senior WriterPublished: Wednesday, April 16, 2003Copyright: 2003 Illini Media Co.Contact: opinions dailyillini.comWebsite: http://www.dailyillini.comRelated Articles & Web Sites:SSDP Policy Harms Youth's Policy Makes Stand on Drug Law Policy Missteps - Harvard Crimson
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