Two Major Victories For Student Rights In Federal Courts

Dan Viets speaking at a NORML conference

Dan Viets speaking at a NORML conference

Federal courts have recently rejected the actions of university and college administrators who sought to inflict suspicionless drug tests on students at a public college and to restrict the First Amendment rights of marijuana law reformers at a public university.  Both decisions have important national implications.

Linn Tech Student Drug Testing Case

In 2011, Linn State Technical College administrators declared that they intended to drug test every student who applied for admission to the small, state-funded college located in Osage County, Missouri, a short distance east of Jefferson City.  No other public college or university in America had pursued such a program.  It seemed clear to those who follow such matters that college and university students have the same rights as other adults to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.  While private institutions are not bound by the restraints of the Fourth Amendment, public tax-supported institutions are.  Nonetheless, Linn Tech seemed determined to pursue inflicting random, suspicionless drug testing on their students.

Tony Rothert, the Legal Director of the ACLU of Missouri, filed suit against Linn Tech.  I filed a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, working with Alex Kreit, a law professor from San Diego.

U.S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughrey, sitting in Jefferson City, subsequently issued a decision prohibiting such testing, with a few narrowly-drawn exceptions for those participating in training programs involving heavy machinery or high-voltage electricity.

Linn Tech appealed that decision to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.  Legal scholars were shocked when a three-judge panel of that Court later sided with Linn Tech.  In a decision which many believed ignored legal precedent and logic, two of three judges on the panel which initially heard the case sided with Linn Tech.

Mr. Rothert then filed for a rehearing of the case by the full 11-judge Court.  Such hearings are rarely granted, but in this case, the Motion was granted.  Following that rehearing, all but two of the judges on the full Court sided with the students and the ACLU, overturning the decision of the three-judge panel.

Still not satisfied, Linn Tech squandered more public tax money pursuing a Petition for Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.  Civil libertarians were concerned that the current high Court might indeed overturn the Eighth Circuit if it had accepted that Petition for review.  However, on June 5, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied further review in this matter.  Therefore, the decision of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court is now the final decision in this matter.  Linn Tech administrators have reluctantly acknowledged that they must now follow the Constitution and abandon their effort to impose suspicionless drug testing on their students.

Iowa State University NORML Censorship Case

In another important case closely watched by many across the nation, members of the NORML Chapter at Iowa State University in 2012 applied for approval to print t-shirts which contained the name of the university-recognized organization and included an image of the school’s mascot, “Cy, the Cyclone”.  University administrators first approved those t-shirts, but when the ISU NORML Chapter asked to reprint them, the university caved in to pressure from legislative staff people who had complained that it appeared the university was supporting marijuana legalization.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) filed suit on behalf of the officers of the Iowa State University NORML Chapter, alleging content and viewpoint discrimination.  The lawsuit sought to prevent university administrators from treating the NORML Chapter differently from other university-recognized student organizations.  The federal district court in Iowa sided with the students and against the university.  The university appealed to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, which issued a decision in February of this year upholding the federal district judge’s ruling.

Iowa State University administrators then asked the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court to reconsider its decision.  The Court did so, which caused many to fear that they might change their minds.

However, on June 13, 2017, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court reaffirmed its earlier decision and went even further, holding that university administrators who prevented the ISU NORML Chapter from using the university’s trademarked images were individually liable for their actions and could, therefore, be ordered to pay damages from their own pockets!

Administrators at the University of Missouri in Columbia have taken similar actions in regard to the MU NORML Chapter.  It is hoped that the decision of the Eighth U.S. Circuit will encourage MU administrators to reconsider their position.

The federal appellate court sent a loud and clear message to university administrators that they are required to respect the Constitutional rights of students, including those who advocate for reform of the marijuana laws.

While Iowa State could do as Linn Tech administrators did and continue to squander more public tax money pursuing an ill-considered position, it is not at all likely the U.S. Supreme Court would grant further review in this matter.

Administrators at the University of Missouri in Columbia have taken similar actions in regard to the MU NORML Chapter.  It is hoped that the decision of the Eighth U.S. Circuit will encourage MU administrators to reconsider their position.

These two decisions have reaffirmed the rights of college and university students to be free from random, suspicionless drug testing and to speak out for drug law reform without censorship by administrators..

 

Marijuana use among college students on rise following Oregon legalization, study finds

College students attending an Oregon university are using more marijuana now that the drug is legal for recreational use, but the increase is largely among students who also report recent heavy use of alcohol, a new study has found.

A third of high school students ride with drivers who have been drinking

One in three high school students reports riding with a driver who has been drinking, while nearly one in five was in a car where the driver had consumed marijuana, according to a new study.

Marijuana use tied to poorer school performance

When high school students started smoking marijuana regularly they were less likely to get good grades and want to pursue university, according to a new study.

Hunter S. Thompson Scholarships for 2017 Aspen Legal Seminar

Keith Stroup and Hunter S. Thompson

Keith Stroup and Hunter S. Thompson

Every year Colorado NORML covers the costs of sending at least TWO attorneys, law students, patients, or advocates who could not otherwise attend to the NORML Aspen Legal Seminar. Covered costs will include lodging at the Gant Hotel, entrance to seminar events, and travel expenses.

To apply, please send a one page letter telling Colorado NORML how your participation at the seminar will advance marijuana law reform, policy or public opinion.

Submit applications by APRIL 21, 2017 to tiffany.kallash@gmlaw.com.

Link to Aspen Seminar: http://norml.org/about/events/aspen-legal-seminar

 

Consumption of alcohol and marijuana associated with lower GPA in college

College students who consume medium-to-high levels of alcohol and marijuana have a consistently lower GPA, according to a new study.

Iowa State University’s NORML Chapter Fought Back – and Won – in the 8th Circuit Court

chapter_spotlightThe four-year feud between Iowa State University (ISU) and the student group NORML ISU has finally concluded with a victory for the marijuana reform advocacy group.

The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of NORML ISU right to use a marijuana leaf and the logo of the school on their promotional items.

Here is the background as written in the Washington Post by Eugene Volokh:

NORML ISU at first got permission from the Trademark Office to use a T-shirt “that had ‘NORML ISU’ on the front with the ‘O’ represented by Cy the Cardinal,” with “Freedom is NORML at ISU” and a cannabis leaf depicted on the back. But after a Des Moines Register article mentioned the T-shirt, a state legislator and someone at the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy heard about this and objected, and the University barred NORML ISU from printing further T-shirts with the design. After that, the University’s Trademark Guidelines were changed to ban “designs that suggest promotion of the below listed items … dangerous, illegal or unhealthy products, actions or behaviors; … [or] drugs and drug paraphernalia that are illegal or unhealthful.”

The court disagreed.

NORML ISU’s use of the cannabis leaf does not violate ISU’s trademark policies because the organization advocates for reform to marijuana laws, not the illegal use of marijuana,”

The circuit court decided that students’ “attempts to obtain approval to use ISU’s trademarks on NORML ISU’s merchandise amounted to constitutionally protected speech.”

Basically, ISU violated the students’ first amendment rights and discriminated against them on the basis of their viewpoint.

The suit was overseen by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon, FIRE’s director of litigation, released a statement saying “We are so pleased to see Paul and Erin’s victory unanimously affirmed by the Eighth Circuit today. Paul and Erin had the courage to stand up for their First Amendment rights, and thousands of students in seven states will now benefit from their commitment.”

This can only come as a reminder to us to stand up and fight back against those looking to suppress advocates for marijuana legalization (and fashionable people everywhere). We as a constituency have the unalienable right of freedom of speech, so make your voice heard and get involved with a NORML chapter near you.

Did teen perception, use of marijuana change after recreational use legalized?

Marijuana use increased and the drug’s perceived harmfulness decreased among eighth- and 10th-graders in Washington after marijuana was legalized for recreational use by adults but there was no change among 12th-graders or among students in the three grades in Colorado after legalization for adults there, according to a new study.

Adolescent alcohol, marijuana use leads to poor academic performance, health problems

Adolescents who use both marijuana and alcohol during middle school and high school are more likely to have poor academic performance and mental health during high school, according to a new study that followed a group of students over a seven-year period. However, the study found marijuana use was predictive of poorer functioning across more areas, including lower academic functioning, being less prepared for school, more delinquent behavior and poorer mental health.

Sex is more likely on days college students use marijuana or binge drink

Undergraduate college students were more likely to have sex on days they used marijuana or binged on alcohol than on days they didn’t, new research has found.

DARE: Failing American Youth And Taxpayers For Thirty Years

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With tongue firmly planted in her cheek, leading scholar, author and activist for youth drug education, Marsha Rosenbaum, Ph.D, from the Drug Policy Alliance, criticizes DARE’s ineffectiveness and expense for the last thirty years.

‘Just Say No’ Turns 30

Marsha Rosenbaum, Ph.D

If you are under 40, it is very likely that you, like 80 percent of schoolchildren in the U.S., were exposed to Drug Abuse Resistance Education, which celebrates its 30th birthday this month.

D.A.R.E. was created by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1983, following the rise of a conservative parents movement and First Lady Nancy Reagan in need of a cause. The purpose of D.A.R.E. was to teach students about the extreme dangers of drugs by sending friendly police officers into classrooms to help kids resist the temptation to experiment; to stand up in the face of peer pressure; and to “just say no.”

Because of its widespread use in elementary schools all across America (and in over 40 countries around the world), D.A.R.E .was evaluated extensively. The reviews consistently showed that while students enjoyed interacting with police (especially examining the sample cases of drugs used for show and tell), and may have been initially deterred, effects were short lived. In fact, by the time D.A.R.E. graduates reached their late teens and early 20s, many had forgotten what they had learned or rejected the exaggerated messages they’d heard. And by 2001, D.A.R.E. was deemed by none other than the United States Surgeon General, “an ineffective primary prevention program,” and lost 80 percent of its federal funding shortly thereafter.

Yet D.A.R.E .has kept going — trying to keep up with the times, at least rhetorically, with its new “Keepin’ it Real” curriculum. Last fall, I read with keen interest that the program in Washington State had been notified by national D.A.R.E., its oversight agency, that the subject of marijuana would be dropped from the curriculum.

What???? The very same D.A.R.E. program that taught my daughter that marijuana would lead to heroin addiction isn’t even mentioning pot? Had it given up its “reefer madness” campaign, perhaps in light of Washington’s Initiative 502 that legalized marijuana last November?

I had to call and hear for myself about these big changes.

President and CEO Frank Pegueros told me that, in fact, D.A.R.E. had changed. The didactic approach is gone, replaced by dialogue and discussion. “Just say no,” he said, “has gone by the wayside.” It sounded almost touchy feely to me.

I was encouraged, thinking for a brief moment that the chorus of anti-D.A.R.E. critics, like me, who emphasized the importance of honest, science-based drug education, had actually been heard.

But then I asked Mr. Pegueros about marijuana, and why it was dropped from the curriculum, and that’s when I got the real scoop.

Actually, it was not officially dropped. Instead, not wanting to pique students’ interest, the subject of marijuana will be discussed by D.A.R.E. officers only if it is brought up by students themselves. And what will they be told? As for content, one needs only to peruse www.dare.com to see that although the packaging may have evolved, the content has remained the same: marijuana is a very dangerous drug; medical marijuana is a hoax; and big money, rather than compassion and pragmatism, is behind legalization initiatives.

By now it is commonly known that the extreme dangers of marijuana have been exaggerated, and few users become addicted or graduate to hard drug use; roughly 70 percent of the American population supports medical marijuana; and it is public opinion that is driving initiatives and legislation to make medical marijuana available to people who need it.

If D.A.R.E. failed to convince youth a generation ago to “just say no” because its content was unbelievable, no amount of new anti-drug rhetoric will help. Students didn’t believe what they were told 30 years ago, and they’re too smart to believe it now.

And worse, D.A.R.E.’s recycled rhetoric will certainly fail to provide young people with useful information to help them make wise, health-driven decisions about dealing with the myriad of substances available to them today.

So Happy 30th D.A.R.E. Now that you’re approaching middle age, how about trying “just say know” this time around?

Marsha Rosenbaum is the founder of the Safety First drug education project at the Drug Policy Alliance and author of “Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs.”

 

 

 

 

Alcohol use, anxiety predict Facebook use by college students

Anxiety and alcohol use significantly predict emotional connectedness to Facebook, a new study suggests. According to one of the researchers, alcohol use is generally viewed as normative, or socially acceptable, among college students, so increased alcohol use may cause an increase in emotional connectedness to Facebook. Researchers also found that marijuana use predicted the opposite: a lack of emotional connectedness with Facebook.

Church of Scientology Distributes Drug Abuse and Addiction Facts Internationally


Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) April 29, 2009

Members, friends and allies of Scientologists and Church of Scientology missions and churches in countries around the world are carrying out an all-out international effort this month to do something effective about drug abuse and addiction in their communities.

Treating April as “Drug Information Month,” volunteers distribute copies of 13 separate drug education booklets, which give simple and direct facts about drugs. These free booklets cover the effects of drugs such as marijuana, alcohol, prescription drugs, cocaine, heroine, crystal meth, crack, painkillers, LSD, Ecstasy, and Ritalin (known as “kiddie cocaine”), and show how these substances destroy a person’s health, creativity, family and relationships.

Scientologists distributed over 3,000 drug facts booklets in Hamburg, Germany, and thousands more in Berlin and Dusseldorf. Volunteers in Cagliari, Italy helped several hundred people learn the truth about drugs, many of whom asked for more booklets to pass on to their friends.

Teams in Marseilles, Angers, Clermont, Bordeaux, Nice and Lyon, France passed out more than 10,000 booklets. In Paris, volunteers went right to the most notorious neighborhoods in the city, passing out booklets to at-risk teenagers and youth while local police quietly stood by to guard against retaliation from drug dealers.

“Our booklets were in such high demand,” said one of the volunteers. “We had teachers coming up to us to ask for copies for their students, two medical doctors wanted them for their waiting rooms and a professor liked them so much he grabbed some booklets and joined us.”

In Amsterdam, where the sale of so-called “soft drugs” is legal and “coffee shop” is a code name for a hash bar, volunteers passed out over 500 drug education booklets. In Auckland, New Zealand volunteers handed out some 1,200 copies at a marketplace.

Countless lives are lost to drugs. Newspapers and TV news shows spotlight the famous artists who die from drug overdose, but most people have experienced personally the loss of a friend or family member through drug abuse. Many of those who resort to selling sex are supporting their habits. Our prisons are full of men and women who are there because they dealt drugs or are drug addicts who committed crimes to support their habits. Governments, nonprofit organizations and private individuals spend billions every year in an attempt to combat this tragedy.

Scientologists and Scientology churches, missions and groups partner with people from all faiths, professions and walks of life to do something effective to counter drug abuse. For more information visit the Scientology video channel at http://www.scientology.org or http://www.youtube.com/churchofscientology

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Ann Arbor Cannabis Seminar Coming Soon

Ann Arbor, MI (PRWEB) May 19, 2009

Proposal 1 passed last November making Cannabis legal for Michigan citizens with a valid doctor’s recommendation. The seminar will cover cannabis politics, legal issues and horticulture with special emphasis on the new Michigan medical marijuana laws.

The Oaksterdam University classes will teach students how to grow and distribute cannabis legally under the new law. A similar measure to Proposal 1 passed in California in 1996 and since then thousands of jobs have been created and the state now collects Millions dollars in annual sales tax.

Oaksterdam University staff available for interviews:

Rich LeeOaksterdam University President and Politics Instructor

Chris ConradPolitics and Legal Issues Instructor

Dale Clare – Chancellor

Rob Raich ESQ – Business Instructor

For more information and to schedule interviews, please contact Greg Grimala.

To learn more about Oaksterdam University, log onto http://www.oaksterdam.com or http://www.michigancannabis.com .

OD Media

Greg Grimala

300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza STE 175

Oakland, CA

94612

(510) 238.9655

greg(at)odmediaco.com

http://www.michigancannabis.com

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Oaksterdam University Returns to Michigan September 5th – 7th Over Labor Day Weekend

Oakland, CA (PRWEB) August 20, 2009

The Oaksterdam University classes will teach students how to grow and distribute cannabis legally under state law. A similar measure to Proposal 1 passed in California in 1996 and since then thousands of jobs have been created and the state now collects Millions dollars in annual sales tax.

Proposal 1 passed last November making Cannabis legal for Michigan citizens with a valid doctor’s recommendation. The classes will cover cannabis politics, legal issues and horticulture with special emphasis on the new Michigan medical marijuana laws.

Advanced classes will feature expert horticulturist Ed Rosenthal.

Learn from experts who founded the successful medical cannabis movement in California. This is the last time we’ll be flying them in to Michigan, as the local experts will be taking over moving forward.

We’re working towards a solid foundation for the Cannabis Industry to provide compassionate care to medical marijuana patients in addition to economic relief for the state of Michigan.

Classes are enrolling now. To receive your quality training in the Cannabis Industry, please call Oaksterdam University at (510) 251-1544 or visit http://www.michigancannabis.com.

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