CSU Students Get Marijuana Referendum on Ballot

CSU Students Get Marijuana Referendum on Ballot
Posted by CN Staff on March 29, 2005 at 18:12:57 PT
By Nikolaus Olsen
Source: Coloradoan
Colorado -- The efforts of three students to get Colorado State University administrators to declare marijuana safer than alcohol haven't gone up in smoke just yet.The students, with the help of a Boulder-based organization, collected the needed 2,085 signatures of full-time students to get their referendum onto the ballot for April's student election. About 2,500 signatures were collected.
The elections committee of CSU's student body now is verifying the signatures.The student-initiated referendum asks university administrators to declare that marijuana use is safer than alcohol.It also asks that penalties for possession of marijuana not be harsher than alcohol violations.Also, the initiative calls on CSU to track the frequency of alcohol-related incidents before and after any such change in policy.If the referendum passes, it would be nonbinding, and administrators can choose to ignore it."I think it shows students are willing to support what we are doing," said Zana Buttermore-Baca, a CSU freshman and organizer of the referendum.They could've collected more signatures, she said, but they were limited by CSU's student body's campaign rules to six days.The group is now planning a rally Thursday on the Lory Student Center plaza in support of the measure, Buttermore-Baca said.The students were aided by the Boulder-based Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER). The group also helped University of Colorado-Boulder students collect the 1,000 signatures needed to place a similar referendum on that school's student ballot.The base of the students' argument is that while up to 1,400 college students die from alcohol-related incidents each year, according to a National Institutes of Health study, there has never been a reported death caused by overdose of marijuana, Buttermore-Baca said.Stricter punishment for drug violations pushes students toward alcohol, organizers said.The initiative arrived on CSU's campus at a time when alcohol and drug issues have garnered much attention after the alcohol-fueled riots and alcohol-related deaths of two students in the fall.Anne Hudgens, executive director of campus life at CSU, said the school already treats infractions of alcohol and marijuana laws in a similar manner. Even then, she said, as a state institution, CSU has a moral, ethical and legal obligation to uphold Colorado's laws. Complete Title: CSU Students Get Marijuana Referendum on School BallotNewshawk: MayanSource: Fort Collins Coloradoan (CO)Author: Nikolaus OlsenPublished: March 29, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Fort Collins ColoradoanContact: NikOlsen Website: Articles & Web Site:Safer Choice Activists Promoting Pot Over Alcohol Students Promoting Referendum Call on CU To Ease Up on Pot, Not Pot, Should Be Police Focus 
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Comment #8 posted by runderwo on March 30, 2005 at 14:08:39 PT
Unfortunately, that's an argument that will only be convincing to people who have been driving high before, in other words, those who need no convincing anyway. A better approach is to point to the huge body of objective research that affirms drivers high on *only* cannabis as being no threat to road safety:
Stoned drivers are safe drivers
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on March 30, 2005 at 12:24:35 PT
Insight, told in a letter to the editor.
One thing goin' on in Colorado, is an attempt to make a statewide smoking ban... Here is a letter to the editor that ties the cannabis issue in with that issue.-US CO: LTE: Proposal to ban smoking in public places          Viewed at:,1413,36%257E416%257E,00.html 
Proposal to ban smoking in public placesRe: "Smoke ban may be snuffed," March 23 news story.Are state Senate Minority Leader Mark Hillman and the rest of the Senate Republicans principled defenders of civil liberties, or dishonest, prejudiced, bigoted hypocrites?Sen. Hillman says, "I don't smoke, and I think it's disgusting, but I'm sick and tired of all these nannies running around telling people what to do."Tobacco is the most deadly of all drugs when ingested. Tobacco drug use accounts for more than 430,000 deaths annually, more than from the use of all other drugs, including alcohol, combined. Yet tobacco is exempt from every drug law.Cannabis is the least harmful of all drugs. Cannabis use has never caused a single death. Yet cannabis is wrongfully regulated.If Sen. Hillman and the other Senate Republicans will act to exempt cannabis from every drug law, like tobacco, then we will know that they are honest and have integrity, acting as principled defenders of liberty.Tom Barrus, Golden
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Comment #6 posted by Kozmo on March 30, 2005 at 09:42:46 PT
The winds of change
I found this line in the Collegian article a breath of fresh air and it gives me great hope that the winds of change are blowing in our favor."The group collected about 2,500 signatures, but an anonymous person contested the referendum."I like the fact that the SAFER folks are up front and visible but the prohibs are "anonymous".That is a good sign that things are changeing for the better.I bet the anonymous contester has been approached by one of the national prohibishionist groups.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on March 30, 2005 at 08:10:28 PT
"A Republic, If You Can Keep It"
"At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powel anxiously awaited the results, and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished, asked him directly: "Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" "A republic if you can keep it" responded Franklin.The term republic had a significant meaning for both of them and all early Americans. It meant a lot more than just representative government and was a form of government in stark contrast to pure democracy where the majority dictated laws and rights. And getting rid of the English monarchy was what the Revolution was all about, so a monarchy was out of the question.The American Republic required strict limitation of government power. Those powers permitted would be precisely defined and delegated by the people, with all public officials being bound by their oath of office to uphold the Constitution. The democratic process would be limited to the election of our leaders and not used for granting special privileges to any group or individual nor for defining rights."Excerpted from:
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Comment #4 posted by potpal on March 30, 2005 at 05:34:08 PT
alcohol vs herb
"Driving a vehicle while high is different from getting high and playing video games."
I'm tired of antis lumping pot in with alcohol. You don't get intoxicated with cannabis. You get high. Fine tuned, so to speak. Not sloppy, clumsy drunk. Studies have shown that driving while stoned, and most assuredly verified by the millions who crossed this country in vehicles since Easy Rider hit the cinema, is safe, safer than driving sober. I can verify that. I've driven to Florida and back (PA) a half dozen times and smoked the sweet leaf the entire time! You get intoxicated with alcohol, high with pot. There's a big difference. Pot gives you wings.
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on March 30, 2005 at 03:55:32 PT
The student newspaper story...
US CO: SAFER Choice referendum aims for ASCSU ballotPubdate: March 30, 2005Source: Rocky Mountain Collegian, The (CO Edu)Copyright: 2003 Rocky Mountain CollegianContact: editor lamar.colostate.eduViewed at: 
SAFER Choice referendum aims for ASCSU ballot
By Megan Schulz
March 30, 2005Members and supporters of the nonprofit organization SAFER Choice have recently been gathering signatures on the CSU campus to support a referendum they hope will reduce university marijuana penalties to the same as those for alcohol."Our mission is to educate people in Colorado about the consequences of alcohol," said SAFER Choice Executive Director Mason Tvert. "By having policies that punish marijuana use, it steers kids towards using alcohol."SAFER is an acronym for Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation. Volunteers organized the recent student-run referendum effort. The group had to collect at least 2,085 signatures from CSU students to have the referendum considered for placement on the upcoming Associated Students of CSU ballot.The group collected about 2,500 signatures, but an anonymous person contested the referendum.If all required signatures are verified as full-time, fee-paying students (six credits or more) and it passes the anonymous person's challenge, it will go on the ASCSU ballot."We basically had to verify all signatures. We have administrators on campus who can verify all of those signatures," said Cord Brundage, ASCSU interim executive elections adviser.It will take a lot of time to verify each and every signature, and the verification deadline for RAMWeb is at noon Thursday, Brundage said."We'd like to be able to find out as soon as possible. There are a lot of people working on it," she said.Tvert said the detrimental effects of marijuana are less than those of alcohol."We don't feel it is a good public policy to tell students they will get in less trouble for using this thing (alcohol) that can kill," Tvert said. "(There is) no finding of marijuana having ever killed anyone from its use."Pam McCracken, director for CSU's Center for Drug and Alcohol Education, said the marijuana's effects depend on how it is used."(It depends) on how much and how often a person uses it," McCracken said. "Driving a vehicle while high is different from getting high and playing video games."McCracken said CSU handles alcohol and marijuana violations on a case-by-case basis."Marijuana is an illegal substance," McCracken said. "Everybody has to adhere to state and federal laws. People on a college campus are not going to be treated any different. At CSU, we treat each case according to the context of what happened and the individual."She said alcohol might increase aggression more so than marijuana, but there are health ramifications resulting from marijuana use."Marijuana users are doing a lot of damage to themselves," McCracken said. "It's an illegal substance, so there's more of a hidden use."Matt Friedell, a junior economics student who is involved with SAFER Choice, said he heard about the program the week before Spring Break and chose to get involved."I had been doing research on my own of the health effects of marijuana compared to those of alcohol," Friedell said. "I believed in the cause and wanted to dedicate my time to it. They had me out there getting signatures and telling people what they're about."Friedell believes in the political process of the student body, and if the referendum is put on the ASCSU ballot, it will represent the voice of the students."Most people associate marijuana (as bad) because they have been raised to believe it is a bad thing," Friedell said. "I guess to refute the signatures by an anonymous person is a little unfair."Tvert said the referendum has nothing to do with the law, just CSU policy."There have been a lot of people not understanding (what we're about)," Tvert said. "The school has an obligation to uphold the law. But it should serve the best interest of the school. This is a demonstration of student opinion that they don't think the penalties (for marijuana use) should be greater than alcohol."McCracken, who said that oftentimes people have a substance of choice when it comes to alcohol and marijuana, also recognizes the referendum as an expression of student opinion."This is something that they have the right and freedom to bring this forward," McCracken said.
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Comment #2 posted by OverwhelmSam on March 30, 2005 at 03:43:09 PT
We'll Never Be Free of Tyrants.
Democracy is majority rule. The founding Fathers feared the oppression of a cruel majority and developed our current form of government - a Constitutional Republic - where Citizens are granted rights by a constitution and government administration is limited in scope by the rights of the people.Even today the average American thinks the US is a Democracy. However, if it were a true Democracy we wouldn't have all the laws that protect the rights of the minorities.
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Comment #1 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on March 29, 2005 at 19:20:12 PT
The Forfeiture Laws are Expanding
The new story on the top of this page is a good example of what just 3 students can do. We can all change things that are not right. We must put forth the effort and fight for what is right. I was looking through the legislation bills being introduced into the Indiana General Assembly on the internet and noticed some bills for upping state worker's benefits and one to increase the legislator's pay--that did not supprise me one bit. However, one thing that disturbed me greatly was two proposed bill calling for the forfeiture of an automobile if caught drinking and driving over three times. I don't agree with drinking and driving, but I completely disagree with taking someone else's property. Another bill was one that proposed the forfeiture of an automobile if caught driving with no license, never have had a licese, no insurance, and involved in an auto accident. I was wondering what ever happen to punishment. Is punishment being replace with theft? The forfieture laws are expanding. I believe these laws are unconstitutional and no governemt should never be allowed to seize any property that was something someone accumulated as a result of hard work and honesty. When a government such as Indiana is so bankrupt and trying to get money from stealing from their citizens property I think they have just about reached their lowest.Indiana lawmakers are just like the Federal Government trying to ban gay marrige. Now what on god's green earth does that have to do with anything government. This is pure prejudice. I never would have imagined this country would ever try to do these kinds of things. I don't get this one at all. It has to be unconstitutional.I think we should all support organizations that fight to keep this government abiding by the Constitution. I am a member of the Civil Liberties Union, Marijuana Policy Project, Change the Climate, and someday a member of Normal. I urge everyone out there to become a member of an organization dedicated to keeping this a sane country where we can be free of tyrants.
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