CSU Students Promoting Referendum on Marijuana

CSU Students Promoting Referendum on Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on March 24, 2005 at 08:43:47 PT
By Nikolaus Olsen
Source: Coloradoan
Colorado -- A whiff of marijuana reform is wafting through Colorado State University's main campus this week. A small group of students wants university administrators to adopt a notion that marijuana is safer to use than alcohol.Three CSU students with the support of a Boulder-based group are gathering signatures from 10 percent of full-time students to put a student-initiated referendum on the ballot for April's student elections.
"It's a safer choice all around," said freshman Zana Buttermore-Baca, one of three students sponsoring the initiative.Buttermore-Baca and other volunteers have until Monday to collect the needed signatures.Organizers said they had more than 500 of the 2,084 required signatures needed as of Wednesday.The base of the students' argument is that while up to 1,400 college students die from alcohol poisoning each year, according to a National Institutes of Health study, there has never been a reported death caused by an overdose of marijuana, Buttermore-Baca said.Advocating any sort of drug use over another is a dicey position for CSU."We are a public university, supported by the taxpayers of Colorado," said Anne Hudgens, CSU's executive director of student judicial affairs. "I think we are bound in every sense to uphold Colorado state law - morally, ethically and legally."The initiative stokes the fires of alcohol and drug use and abuse at CSU. During the fall semester, two students died in alcohol-related deaths and four more students at other Colorado colleges suffered similar fates.Specifically, the student-initiated referendum calls on CSU leaders to acknowledge marijuana use is safer than alcohol and marijuana punishments shouldn't be any more harsh than alcohol punishments. Also, the initiative calls on CSU to track the frequency of alcohol-related incidents before and after any such change in policy.The manner in which underage drinking and marijuana use tickets are handled is essentially the same at CSU already, Hudgens said."We really don't differentiate between marijuana and underage drinking use," Hudgens said, noting there are stricter penalties for selling the drug.When police or residence hall staff notify CSU officials of violations, students are given an educational and health assessment "to determine what should be done to help them get back on track," Hudgens said.Even if the measure does make it to the ballot and is ratified by students, it would be nonbinding, and CSU administrators would not have to touch it.The initiative is more about the safety of students than legalization of marijuana, said Mason Tvert, executive director of the Boulder-based Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER)."Greater punishment on drug use directs students to alcohol," Tvert said. "The university should do whatever it can to keep students safe."SAFER already has worked with students at the University of Colorado-Boulder to get a similar measure placed on CU's student ballot.CSU student body president Katie Clausen said she does not support the initiative but noted the students are exercising rights given to them by the constitution of the student government.Students' opinions on the issue vary."I don't approve of it," said Steve Krebsbach, 22, a senior majoring in construction management. "If you want to smoke, then smoke, but there is a law against it."Freshman Greg Haas, 18, who is pursuing a business major, said he agreed in principle with the initiative but noted it would cast CSU in a negative light."I have friends who have gotten into more trouble with alcohol than marijuana," Haas said. "While it comes out sounding reasonable, I think it makes CSU look bad within the rest of the state." Note: Group argues penalties should be no worse than alcohol.Newshawk: MayanSource: Fort Collins Coloradoan (CO)Author: Nikolaus OlsenPublished: March 24, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Fort Collins ColoradoanContact: NikOlsen Website: Articles & Web Site:Safer Choice Call on CU To Ease Up on Pot, Not Pot, Should Be Police Focus 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 27, 2005 at 14:07:14 PT
UPI: Colo. Students: Lighten Up on Pot
Boulder, CO, Mar. 27 (UPI) -- A Colorado student group is urging the University of Colorado and Colorado State University to reduce or eliminate penalties for using marijuana. The students, claiming marijuana is safer than alcohol, have circulated petitions to have measures that would equalize penalties for both substances voted on during student elections in April, the Denver Post reported Sunday. The movement's leaders have also asked administrators to study the impact of making marijuana use non-punishable for students older than 18.The student votes will be nonbinding at both schools, but they will gauge the opinions of the student body. Mason Tvert, executive director for Safer Alternatives for Enjoyable Recreation, said: "If a fraternity told a freshman to go into the woods and smoke a pound of pot, he is not going to die from that. He'll fall asleep before that happens."SAFER, a nonprofit organization formed in January in Boulder, plans to create chapters at CU and CSU. The group has been heading the petition drive.The group already has the 1,200 signatures needed at CU, and it plans to get the required 2,085 at CSU by Monday, Tvert said.Copyright: 2005 United Press International
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by FoM on March 26, 2005 at 13:40:22 PT
Related Article from Snipped Source
CSU, CU Activists Seek Pot o' PlentySay alcohol is greater dangerBy Monte Whaley, Denver Post Staff Writer Published: Saturday, March 26, 2005 
Fort Collins - Students at two Colorado college campuses rocked by alcohol-related deaths last year are pressing school officials to lighten up on marijuana users. Claiming pot is safer than alcohol, activists at the University of Colorado and Colorado State University want sanctions for the use and possession of marijuana to be no greater than those imposed for underage drinking.Students signed petitions last week to have the measure put on the ballot next month during student elections. The initiative also asks administrators to conduct a study to determine the impact of making marijuana use nonpunishable for students older than 18.The vote will be nonbinding at CU and CSU. But if the measures pass, they will send a message that students think a few puffs from a joint are a lot safer than several shots of beer, said Mason Tvert, executive director for SAFER (Safer Alternatives for Enjoyable Recreation). 
Snipped:Complete Article:,1413,36~53~2783098,00.html
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by The GCW on March 24, 2005 at 16:34:59 PT
US CO: Putting the kind in kindbud
US CO: Putting the kind in kindbudAuthor: Joel Warner 
Viewed at: 
Putting the kind in kindbudDespite run-ins with the law, Denver's Curies of cannabis light up for a good cause 
by Joel Warner The tale of the Colorado Compassion Club begins with a couple of antagonistic tree trimmers. As the story goes, in the summer of 2004, a Denver resident, whom we shall call Frank, told a few tree trimmers he would pay for their services in marijuana. The trimmers knew Frank was good for it. All they had to do was look into his house to spot his pot—hundreds and hundreds of plants. 
When the tree trimmers' work was complete, however, Frank apparently failed to pay up. So the trimmers took matters into their own hands, namely making off with some of Frank's marijuana plants. Incensed, Frank called the cops, which, in hindsight, might not have been the best decision. When police officers arrived at Frank's home, they were less interested his tale of mischievous tree trimmers than they were in the fact that he had hundreds of pot plants growing all over his crib. When the cops tried to take the plants, Frank told them they'd have to go through the Drug Enforcement Agency. Bad idea number two. Frank ended up with federal agents crawling all over his cannabis arboretum. To lessen the heat, Frank told the authorities he'd rat out others who'd helped him grow his sizable marijuana garden. Frank's admissions led North Metro Drug Task Force officers and federal drug agents to the door of a low-lying red-brick bungalow in a neighborhood of low-lying red-brick bungalows in east Denver at 10:30 p.m. on June 1, 2004. The home belonged to Thomas and Larisa Lawrence. Thomas is just over six feet, with light-blue eyes, brown hair tied in a ponytail and a soul patch plummeting from his lower lip. Larisa is small and pretty, with straight brown hair. At the time, both were inside the house celebrating Thomas' grandmother's 72nd birthday. The officers asked Thomas and Larissa if they could search the premises. What happened next is in dispute. Larisa says she asked to see a search warrant. She says the officers responded that they didn't need one because of the PATRIOT Act—but that they would be happy to get one, provided that Thomas, Larisa and all their guests didn't mind being locked out of the house for six hours while they whipped one up. Jeff Dorschner, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver, unequivocally denies such a conversation ever took place. He says Thomas and Larisa must have given the officers permission to search the premises. Whatever the circumstances, the officers searched the house. The investigation turned up 84 young pot plants in the basement, 12 ounces of loose marijuana and six pounds of ice in the freezer that contained marijuana plant matter. It appeared that Thomas and Larisa were unusually over-achieving stoners, but that wasn't the case. Thanks to a combination of football injuries and a degenerative spinal condition, Thomas suffers from migraines and back pain. He can't stand prescription narcotics, especially since they leave him too doped up to run his home-improvement business. The only thing that seems to help is marijuana, which dulls his pain and thins his blood, leading to less migraines. The "medicine," as Thomas and Larisa call it, works so well that the two moved from the Washington, D.C. area to Colorado in 2001 because of the Centennial State's more lenient marijuana laws. The year before, Colorado had passed Amendment 20, which allows people to be licensed to use marijuana to alleviate debilitating conditions including cancer, AIDS, severe pain and seizures. The law allows a licensed marijuana patient to usually possess no more than six marijuana plants and two ounces of usable marijuana—much less than what the authorities found in Thomas and Larisa's house. But Thomas wasn't just growing for himself, he was providing for other patients. Word had gotten around that Thomas was growing some good medicine, and many patients specified Thomas as their state-certified caregiver. Frank had been one of Thomas' patients, albeit one with whom Thomas had severed all ties because of a disagreement long before the cops came knocking on his door. At the time of the raid, Thomas estimates he was providing medicine for 11 licensed patients and about 20 more who were in the process of getting licensed—more than enough, he says, to legally justify his ganja garden. The feds didn't see it that way. After mulling about the property for several hours, they confiscated all the marijuana, plus lights, heaters and books used in the operation. They allowed Thomas to keep his collection of one-of-a-kind bongs and roach clips. Thanks to the raid, Thomas and Larissa lost between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of property and gained a reputation around the neighborhood for being the focus of a federal drug bust. While Thomas and Larisa have not been charged with any crime, their property remains confiscated. Weird science Whatever the officers hoped to gain from the raid, they didn't stop Thomas and Larisa from growing their medicine. Instead they caused these Curies of cannabis to go official—by starting the Colorado Compassion Club. "We are not trying to say, 'How can we grow as much pot as we can,'" says Thomas. "We are trying to make sure patients and caregivers have some access to medicine, and make it as cost effective as possible." Today there are 587 people licensed to use medical marijuana in Colorado—32 in Boulder—but the law doesn't specify how they are supposed to get the pot. The most obvious ways of doing so seem to be scoring a dime bag in Centennial Park or spending hundreds of dollars and six months growing pot from seed in a closet. But now, through Thomas and Larisa's Colorado Compassion Club, a consortium of about 70 patients and caregivers that's rapidly growing, there's another option. Sorry, run-of-the-mill stoners: Prospective Colorado Compassion Club members need to be either a licensed marijuana patient or in the process of obtaining a license. Thomas, Larisa or other caregivers in the club work with club patients, discussing their conditions and what type and dose of marijuana might be appropriate. Everything is recorded on extremely detailed paperwork—so if there's ever another raid, Thomas and Larisa will have the proof they're not drug lords. The club provides members from Carson City to Grand Lake with medicine or helps them build and maintain their own grow rooms. It's all based on donations, and the club is hoping to get nonprofit status. If a member can't pay in cash, they volunteer time helping the club produce medicine, or donate clippings from their own plants, if they grow their own. Thomas and Larisa's bungalow is the club's center of operations, a sort of communal hospital-cum-greenhouse-cum-pharmacy. Club members stop over all the time to help out, chill out or toke up. The living room feels like a rain forest, filled with large plants, ceremonial masks, roaming cats and dogs and an unmistakable heavy aroma in the air. But the important greenery lies downstairs, in a small room with bare white walls. This is where the magic happens. "I think the love and care we put into the plants produces a different quality of medicine. You have to love the plant," says Thomas, as he stands in the basement room. Around his feet spreads a thick carpet of young marijuana plants, each labeled by type—Chocolate Chunk, Ultimate Indica, Chronic Maple Leaf, Humboldt Snow, G13, White Lightning—Thomas cracks up in the middle of listing the varieties—Bubblegum, Bubble Funk, Shiskaberry, Dutch Treat. A fan blows gently through the leaves, and a large circular metal grow light hangs overhead, traveling slowly back and forth on a motorized track attached to the ceiling. There's a stereo in the corner—some volunteers like to play rock for the plants; Thomas prefers hip-hop. In the room's closet, Thomas runs his genetics lab. Here, tiny plant clippings grow in small containers, all part of Thomas' experiments in cloning and cross-breeding the cannabis to produce varieties with specific medicinal qualities—some to increase hunger, some to dull pain, some to ease muscle spasms. When the plants are large enough, Thomas will move them to a large greenhouse in the backyard. There they will grow for most of the summer; when they're harvested, they'll probably be over six feet tall. Neighbors warn their kids to stay away from the unusual greenery poking over the fence. Along with marijuana and hash for smoking, the club produces brownies, muffins and fudge, all made with a specific amount of cannabis, so patients can take regular dosages—"Take two pot brownies and call me in the morning." While most tokers just use cannabis flowers, the Colorado Compassion Club also harvests the plant's leaves, which offer many of the same medicinal qualities with less of the intoxicating side effects. So if you don't feel like smoking, there's a myriad of other ways to take your medicine: teas, tinctures, topical rubs, lotions, cooking oils, creams, compresses and even hard candy. "It doesn't have to be about sitting around and taking bong hits," says Larisa. "Though it is your right to do so." If Thomas is the mad scientist in the basement, Larisa is the Mother Theresa in the living room. She prefers working with the patients, finding out how to best meet their needs, helping them cope. She says she's watched many people heal before her eyes. Busted—again For Thomas and Larissa, running the Colorado Compassion Club is a full-time job—especially since they aren't about to receive much support from local authorities. Thomas learned this the hard way in January. He was driving home one evening when a cop pulled him over. The officer found an ounce of "Kahuna Salad" marijuana and two pipes in the glove compartment. Since Thomas didn't have his caregiver license on him, the cops were somewhat skeptical when he told them it was medicine. Once again, Thomas' medicine was taken by the Man—but this time, he was determined to get it back. In February, Thomas walked into the police station with a court property disposition for his weed and pipes. The police laughed in his face. They said his disposition was fake, that he was trying to steal illicit drugs from the cops. Not even a call from the City Attorney's Office could sway the officers. There was no way the Denver police were going to start handing out Mary Jane to needy citizens. A month later, on March 4, Thomas returned to the police station, armed with a new court order, his lawyer and the press. He picked up the phone in the station lobby and said, "Hi. I need to pick up some property." This time the police were more cooperative. Thomas became the first person ever to receive drugs from the Denver police. "What happened was a victory for all patients and caregivers in Colorado. It was a victory for everyone who voted to get the law enabled," says Thomas. The only problem with the returned medicine, Thomas told a journalist at the scene, was "It's a little dryer than I'd like." Thomas and Larisa have big plans for the Colorado Compassion Club. Both are taking naturopath courses, and talk all the time about creating a wellness center for the club, where members have access to health spas and even hospice rooms. Reaching that goal won't be easy, especially since the Colorado Compassion Club probably hasn't seen the last of its run-ins with the authorities. One possible reason federal attorneys have yet to charge Thomas and Larissa for the 83 plants they found in their house last year could be because they are waiting for an upcoming decision in the Supreme Court case Ashcroft vs. Raich, which will decide on the federal government's ability to supercede state medical marijuana laws. If the court rules in the fed's favor, people like Thomas and Larisa could be looking at federal prosecution—maybe even prison time. Thomas isn't too worried. He doesn't expect to be thrown in the clink for growing some supreme weed. "Here in Denver, I don't see them being able to convict me under a jury of my peers," he says, relaxing on his living room couch while, behind him, a few visiting club members sit around the kitchen table, munching on take-out fried chicken and packing a glass bong. "All I am trying to do is help people who can't help themselves." Respond: letters (note photo on website)
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by The GCW on March 24, 2005 at 16:26:31 PT
Back to BOULDER.
US CO: Green butter          Pubdate: Mar. 24, 2005
Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)Author: Wayne Laugesen 
Viewed at:
Green butter- - - - - - - - - - - -
by Wayne Laugesen (letters I didn't inhale, but I did get stoned—entirely by accident. I have witnesses. It was spring in the late '90s, and our neighbors invited us for dinner. I slathered melted butter all over my corn, lest it seem too much like a vegetable. Halfway through dessert, I felt weird. I developed a keen understanding of what people really mean when they say things like "that was great steak." I knew they were really saying this: "Wayne, we're onto you. Nobody likes you. You're an illusion, man, and we will reform you." Growing increasingly paranoid, I turned to my brilliant, gorgeous wife and whispered my knowledge of the conspiracy. I said we should leave soon. She was a bit puzzled at first, and then appeared enlightened. "Did you butter your corn?" she asked. "Uh huh," I said. "You used this butter, with the green tinge?" she asked, holding up the dregs of the butter, which was only slightly green. "Uh huh," I replied. "That's ganja butter," she said, giggling about my plight. "I thought Sarah made that perfectly clear, but maybe you were outside. The clean butter's in that dish. This butter's cooked with pot. There's no conspiracy, honey, you're stoned." Even worse, I'd taken my dessert from the wrong brownie tray. Before long, I was reading people's minds. For whatever reason, pot doesn't bring me joy. My worldview regarding cheap thrills, therefore, goes like this: beer good, pot bad. As a journalistic professional, I consider High Times a has-been rag. Modern Drunkard, by contrast, is an up-and-comer. High Times celebrates druggies; Modern Drunkard celebrates drunks. Both publications enshrine the unique liberties and excesses we enjoy in the USA, where we live by the words of heroic Revolutionary War General John Stark, who said: "Live free or die." Though I loathe ingesting pot and thrive on beer, I have some respect for functional potheads. The vast majority of potheads I know are productive members of society, and several have made fortunes from their drug-inspired books and creations. Some of Boulder's top civic and business leaders are potheads and will remain as such until they die of old age. Though I believe pot unnecessary in a world that offers beer, I also believe the revered words of the late philosopher Martin Niemoller. He said: "When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Catholics I did not speak out because I was not a Catholic. When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me." Get it, drunkards? If we don't speak out for the potheads right now, in their time of great need, there will be nobody left to speak for us when they come for our drink. At the University of Colorado, potheads have suddenly become a convenient scapegoat for administrators—the people who've turned the school into a joke with their inconceivable hiring and firing practices, date-rape football parties, million-dollar slush funds and half-million-dollar booze budgets. Every year potheads and their friends gather at 4:20 p.m., on April 20, for a pot party at CU's Farrand Field. Cops, typically outnumbered by thousands of potheads, stand peacefully by and no one gets hurt. Unlike a booze party, people don't puke and fights don't break out. This year, however, city and CU officials warn of an unprecedented crackdown on the freedom-promoting event. Undoubtedly, they'll shut it down just as they did the annual Mall Crawl that once made Halloween special. Maybe they'll foment a riot, as they did by interrupting an innocent University Hill block party last fall. Now that Hunter Thompson's dead, journalists need a new spokesman of inebriation in an increasingly prohibitionist world. I turned to the articulate Frank Rich, editor and publisher of Modern Drunkard. He didn't disappoint. "If they crack down on potheads, they'll drive off all the students," Rich said. "That's why people enroll at CU, because it's known as a good place to smoke pot. Isn't that what Boulder's all about?" Modern Drunkard was featured this month in Time magazine, because it's growing by leaps and bounds. It is the hippest coffee table accoutrement of the new millennium, mainly because Frank's a genius. "There are a lot of drunks out there, Wayne," Rich told me, when I asked about his success. "We have road blocks in this country and they aren't there to catch terrorists and rapists, but to snag some guy who had a few beers after work. The good news for Modern Drunkard is that a lot of our subscribers are cops. We also have a lot of doctors and lawyers. Our subscriber base consists of people in high-stress careers. These people are concerned about growing threats to drinking, and we're defending them." Rich observes that crackdowns on drunks and potheads seem to emanate from politically and socially liberal environments, like Boulder. "They want cradle-to-grave government control over our lives," Rich said. "Just compare Boulder, which is controlled by the left, to Colorado Springs, which leans to the right. Boulder has a much more intense war against drunks than you find in Colorado Springs. It won't be long before the government in Boulder outlaws happy hour. Then they'll tell bar owners they can serve only three drinks a day to any given customer. I assure you it's coming." So go to the pot party, whether you toke or not, take a stand and make a difference. Just be careful what you eat! 
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment