Pubdate: Thu, 07 Sep 2006
Source: Columbia Missourian (MO)
Copyright: 2006 Columbia Missourian
Author: Tina Marie Macias
Bookmark: (Students for Sensible Drug Policy)
Bookmark: (NORML)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Student groups were praised for helping pass pro-pot

MU has earned yet another recognition, though this is one some
students, parents and alumni might not brag about.

The university has received high marks from a monthly "stoner-friendly
guide." High Times magazine ranks MU third on the list of university
campuses helping to soften the nation's pot laws.

The magazine's October 2006 issue recognizes the efforts of two
student organizations -- the MU chapters of Students for Sensible Drug
Policies and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
Laws -- that helped pass two city propositions.

One protects medical marijuana patients from criminal penalties; the
other decriminalizes marijuana and makes the drug the lowest priority
for law enforcement.

"The High Times article is a little misleading -- it characterizes the
propositions as a student project -- but the campaign was more diverse
than that," said Columbia attorney Dan Viets, who is on the board of
directors for the Columbia Alliance for Patients and Education, which
helped pass the propositions in November 2004.

However, "students were some of the hardest workers in the campaign,
especially in terms of petitioning," he said.

Sean Randall, a junior in MU's political science program and chapter
president of NORML, said he knew about the article in July.

"The biggest thing that these propositions did was it really took the
issue of marijuana and brought it out in the open in this community,"
Randall said. "It made a whole lot more people realize that this isn't
an extremely left, liberal initiative that can only get passed in

Kris Krane, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policies,
who compiled the list of colleges for High Times, said he appreciates
the magazine for honoring activism.

"The war on drugs, since its modern conception, has been justified in
protecting children," Krane said. "It's incumbent of college students
to say, 'No more. Not in our name.'"

Randall said he is excited about the article and said he hopes people
don't "think that this a lot of people who get stoned a lot."

"If they read the article and read why we were considered, they'll
realize that we're a good group of people," he said.

The writer and editor of the article, Dave Bienenstock, said the
magazine has made lists similar to this in the past and has picked
colleges with "the best pot or which school is the most counterculture
in general," but this is the first year it has focused on activism.

"Any college in America is going to have its marijuana smokers and
marijuana culture," Bienenstock said. "We try to have a little
different focus each year."

Mary Jo Banken, an MU spokeswoman, declined to comment on the

"MU doesn't typically respond to rankings, because the rankings are
apt to vary widely from year to year and from publication to
publication," she said.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake