Taxpayers Foot Bill for Iowa State’s Failed Marijuana Lawsuit Against Students

When a gaggle of scholars at Iowa State University (ISU) determined to dedicate their time — when not in school, in fact — to preventing for marijuana laws reform, they in all probability didn’t anticipate to generate nationwide information with their T-shirts.

But when Iowa State violated the U.S. Constitution by banning the shirts, which featured the college’s mascot and a small marijuana leaf, they ended up costing taxpayers statewide some critical authorized prices.

According to The Associated Press, the state should fork over $150,000 in damages to 2 members who serve management roles within the ISU chapter of NORML. Former college students Erin Furleigh and Paul Gerlich will every obtain half of the settlement. A state board decided the varsity violated the group’s proper to free speech by prohibiting the shirts.

Additionally, taxpayers will foot the invoice for $386,000 in authorized charges to 2 regulation companies that represented the NORML chapter within the case and its subsequent appeals.

“It is an unambiguous win for our clients and for the First Amendment and for an understanding that violating people’s rights isn’t free,” stated lead lawyer for the scholars, Robert Corn-Revere. “One reason we urge universities to settle early is to avoid these kinds of expenses.”

Going ahead, an injunction from the courtroom will forestall the college from bringing future trademark lawsuits towards the group, even when they proceed to supply school-related attire that features marijuana imaging.

Originally authorised by ISU, the scholar group solely confronted backlash from their faculty as soon as the Des Moines Register quoted and photographed a gaggle of scholars sporting the t-shirt whereas conducting an interview for a November 2012 piece about legalization efforts within the state.

In June, the eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dominated the college’s actions have been “viewpoint discrimination,” which means the scholar group confronted “unique scrutiny” simply because the varsity disagreed with its political viewpoint.

NORML acknowledges roughly 800 scholar chapters and every one has the fitting to make use of their faculty’s logos.


The shirt in query options ISU’s recognizable Cardinal mascot alongside the NORML emblem, with the quote “Freedom is NORML at ISU” emblazoned on the again with a hashish leaf.

Once high-powered politicians within the state, together with then-Governor Terry Branstad, questioned the varsity’s involvement or potential help of the attire, the varsity took motion. They blocked the manufacturing of further shirts, citing a newly edited trademark bylaw that said clothes bearing the varsity’s identify or emblem couldn’t additionally present or promote “drugs and drug paraphernalia that are illegal or unhealthful.”

Cover picture courtesy of Allie Beckett


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