On Nov. 20, 2004, SGA recognized the WCU chapter of NORML. NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, is an educational program which works on educating people and decriminalizing marijuana for the purposes of recreation, industrial hemp, and medical uses. WCU NORML works to teach students and faculty, along with community members of West Chester, the current laws on marijuana. “The goal of WCU NORML is to kind of rid people of the fear. If they are educated about the laws, then they know their rights and do not have to fear any negative association,” says co-founder Clinton Smith. The negative association he speaks of is the resistance of some students to join because they fear they will be branded negatively and that NORML will not be taken seriously.
WCU NORML, under the advisement of criminal justice professor Dr. Brian O?Neill has already loosened some of those fears.
“Getting recognized was a big step,” says Smith, “I really think that because we have a criminal justice advisor and that the University is behind us that others will realize that we are here not to work against those that do not believe in legalizing the drug, but to educate on why the laws should be changed.” Currently in the United States, marijuana accounts for the most arrests and criminal offenses for people aged 18-24. By having an organization like NORML on college campuses, it is a start in the right direction to ending these arrests.
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to consequences that can directly change one?s life. So, NORML is here to help assist in the ending the ignorance.
WCU NORML already has ideas on how to make the education and decriminalization process fun for everyone. Already they have proposed a campus wide showing of “Grass”, a bake sale, and a hemp pretzel sale. The meetings are fun and informative.
The organization meets the first and third Monday of each month, with the next meeting being held Feb. 21 in Ruby Jones 104 at 8 p.m. The meetings are open to WCU students, faculty, graduates, and community members.