Student group advocates legalization of marijuana

Solomon Keithley

Joshua Montgomery, sophomore in industrial engineering, is trying to make a push for the legalization of marijuana in the state of Iowa.

“The truth is,” Montgomery said, “Iowans — be they students, custodians, bus drivers, doctors, dog-walkers, patients, farmers, veterans or teachers — are suffering at the hands of unjust marijuana policy.”

Montgomery and the ISU Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws came under fire earlier in the week when university officials condemned the groups’ unauthorized use of Cy on their club T-shirts. The group promotes awareness of laws regarding marijuana, the arguments for legalizing marijuana and policy options for marijuana regulation.

“Legalization may be a nice end goal,” Montgomery said. “But realistically, Iowa needs to take one step at a time. We need to get marijuana decriminalized.”

Decriminalization is different from legalization, Montgomery said, in that it does not remove penalties, only reduces the them, “so people stop losing their jobs and students stop losing their loans. We also need to allow for medicinal marijuana to enter the medical field in our state.”

Steffen Schmidt, university professor of political science, gave his view on how the Iowa Legislature would react if marijuana would try to be legalized soon.

“I think the [Republican Party] is opposed to legalization, and they control the Iowa House.” Said Schmidt. This will make the organization’s battle that much tougher, he said. 

“As far as raising awareness,” Montgomery said, “Our student-organization Web page will be operational during [Winter] Break, and it will house our petition initiatives — the root of our efforts. These initiatives will urge communities to print off our petitions asking for the decriminalization of marijuana and the introduction of medicinal cannabis.

“Freedom fighters will simply need to get the petitions filled out and mail or fax them to us,” Montgomery said. “The instructions will be detailed on the website as soon as it is up and running. Once it is, we will run a statewide awareness campaign informing Iowa of the urgency for action.”

Montgomery also further explained the main message of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“[The ISU Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws] intends to bring to light the glaring necessity for marijuana law reform in the state of Iowa.” Montgomery said. “In no way do we advocate for breaking current laws; we seek to change the laws through spreading the truth and raising awareness of current realities.”