Federal Appeals Court Says Iowa State University Can't Prevent Distribution Of Marijuana T-Shirts
Feb 14, 2017 09:50 AM EST
A federal appeals court has ruled that Iowa State University is in no position to disallow a marijuana law reform advocacy group from distributing a t-shirt with cannabis on it. And for free speech advocates, they call this a significant victory for people everywhere who run similar causes.
ABC has reported that the 8th U.S. Circuit Court Of Appeals has ruled that Iowa State University administrators President Steven Leath, Senior Vice President Warren Madden along with two others have violated the First Amendments. These rights include to two students who were also top officers of the university's chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Iowa State Univeristy students Paul Gerlich and Erin Furleigh both planned in 2012 to print t-shirts with "NORML ISU" on front with "O" being represented by the university mascot, Cy the Cardinal. Meanwhile, the back of the shirt came with "Freedom is NORML in ISU" with a small cannabis leaf right on top of NORML.
Initially, Iowa State University has approved the original design that bore the mascot and the marijuana leaf. However, Leath and others have decided to block it, indicating that the design has infringed the school's trademark policy. This came after getting massive pressure from conservative lawmakers along with an appointee of Gov. Terry Branstad. Accordingly, this appointee has seen the story of the group's plan to create a t-shirt in a Des Moines Register article.
Subsequently, Gerlich and Furleigh filed suit against the university in July 2014. A year after, it was ruled by U.S. District Judge James Gritzner that the school has breached the students' free speech rights. He then barred the school from preventing the students from printing the shirt.
The students' attorney Robert Corn-Revere has shared that the case ruling has confirmed that schools such as Iowa State University cannot discriminate its students and their advocacies especially if they are based on their political views. On the other hand, ISU spokesman John McCarroll has revealed that the unversity is currently reviewing the ruling. ISU has yet to decide whether it will appeal for an 8th Circuit rehearing or head to Supreme Court for a consideration, KWQC reported.