Bong Hits 4 Jesus Banner Brings Duo to D.C.

  Bong Hits 4 Jesus Banner Brings Duo to D.C.

Posted by CN Staff on March 17, 2007 at 12:35:05 PT
By Bill Harlan, Journal Staff 
Source: Rapid City Journal  

Rapid City, SD -- The two Stevens High School seniors who showed up for class last fall wearing T-shirts supporting medical marijuana are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.David Valenzuela and Chris Fuentes, both 18, don't have a case before the high court. In fact, they won't even go inside. The two students will, however, address a free-speech rally Monday on the court's front steps.
"Students are the future generations of America, so I think we have a big say in this kind of thing," Fuentes said Friday, in an interview after school.Their expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., comes courtesy of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, which has 100 chapters nationwide.The group's rally coincides with oral arguments Monday morning in a case before the Supreme Court.The court will consider whether Alaska student Joseph Frederick's free-speech rights were violated in 2002. Frederick's school suspended him for displaying a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner at a school outing to an Olympic torch parade. School officials said the banner violated a policy against advocating illegal acts.Defending the Alaska school will be Kenneth Starr, the former special prosecutor who investigated President Clinton.Students for Sensible Drug Policy filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Frederick. A paragraph in the 30-page brief tells the story of Valenzuela and Fuentes and their controversial T-shirts, which urged support for last year's initiated measure to legalize medical marijuana in South Dakota.Voters rejected the measure Nov. 7.A few days before, school officials rejected the T-shirts, forcing Valenzuela and Fuentes to change clothes and threatening to suspend them.Rapid City School Superintendent Peter Wharton said at the time that the shirts' political message wasn't the problem. The problem was the picture of a large marijuana leaf on the front of each shirt. Rapid City schools forbid clothing promoting drugs, alcohol or tobacco.Valenzuela and Fuentes argued that they weren't promoting illegal drug use and that the marijuana leaves were political speech.Wharton called that argument "absurd."Now, Wharton's comment, originally made to the Rapid City Journal, is part of the Supreme Court's record in the Alaska case."We think that was blatantly unconstitutional," Students for Sensible Drug Policy spokesman Tom Angell said. He monitors such cases from his group's Washington headquarters.A week ago, Angell called Valenzuela's mother to offer her son and his friend first-class airline tickets to Washington. "We were jumping up and down, hugging each other," Fuentes said.Both seniors say their notoriety has made them more aware of First Amendment issues, but neither is headed for a political career. Fuentes hopes to become a tattoo artist. Valenzuela will enroll at the Job Corps at Nemo. He wants to be a firefighter.The two seniors will have to take a day off from school Monday for the Supreme Court rally, but Fuentes will get credit in history for writing a paper about the trip.Valenzuela cited another reward. "What we did helped another kid," he said. "Now, it's going to affect the whole nation. I feel pretty proud of that."However, Valenzuela did point out that on the flight home Monday, they're booked in coach.Note: Rapid City Stevens High School students David Valenzuela and Chris Fuentes will address a free-speech rally Monday on the front steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The two will be speaking as the High Court prepares to hear a free-speech case that addresses the suspension of an Alaska student who displayed a banner "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" at a school outing. Journal File Photo: Source: Rapid City Journal (SD)Author: Bill Harlan, Journal StaffPublished: March 16, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Rapid City JournalContact: letters rapidcityjournal.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:SSDP 'Bong' Banner Tests Student Free Speech Case Tests Limits of Student Speech Rights Hits Saga Enters Year Five 

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Comment #2 posted by legalizeit on March 17, 2007 at 20:30:43 PT
Hope for the future...
One can only hope that these kids will become active in politics and maybe even run for elected office when they are older. The more people in high office (no pun intended...) who actually respect, support and defend the Constitution (AS THEY SWORE TO DO WHEN THEY TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE), and who don't waste billions of taxpayer dollars to invade soverign nations, squash free speech, and fight beneficial, wonderful, mind-opening plants, the better our country will be.Good riddance to every crochety, old-school, drug-warrior type who leaves office. Wharton, Starr, Bush & Friends, and all the others, your days are numbered. It's time to take this country back from the neo-con fascists from BOTH major parties who have it hostage, and put it back on track!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 17, 2007 at 14:59:51 PT
Ohio: Lobby Your Legislators for Medical Marijuana
By Brandy Zink, Ohio Patient NetworkMarch 17, 2007Lobby your Ohio legislators on March 22, The Ohio Patient Action Network (OPAN) Ohio Patient Network - an MPP grantee - will hold a lobby day to generate support for medical marijuana legislation. Please join medical marijuana patients and health care advocates at the Statehouse in Columbus on Wednesday, March 22, to urge your legislators to sponsor medical marijuana legislation. There are many new legislators in Columbus who are not familiar with medical marijuana, so we need to educate them about it. The most effective way to educate legislators is to meet with them personally. If you are interested in participating in this vital lobbying effort, please contact Brandy Zink by e-mailing bzink for details. If you or someone you know is suffering from a debilitating condition or if you are a medical professional, a member of law enforcement, or a public official, your presence during the lobby day could be tremendously influential. URL:
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