Student groups host joint-rolling contest for marijuana legalization
Students gathered outside of the Tempe campus Memorial Union on Wednesday to compete in the fourth annual ASU joint-rolling contest and raise public support for marijuana legalization.
Students for Liberty, College Republicans at ASU and Young Americans for Liberty at ASU hosted the event, where students rolled joints filled with legal substances, such as the damiana herb and tobacco.
Business freshman Jacob Pritchett, the president of Young Americans for Liberty, said the joint-rolling contest was a way to reel people into conversation about the issue of marijuana legalization.
"It's a very provocative device, because it looks like what people do to smoke marijuana," Pritchett said.
Participants in the contest were judged on the quality of the joint they rolled, and the winner received a $40 pipe.
"We're not promoting drug use," Pritchett said. "We're just promoting the right to do what you want with your body."
Signs, including one depicting Dwight Schrute from "The Office" assessing the failure of drug prohibition, hung from tables at the event.
Club members approached students around the MU and shouted, “Roll a joint, make a point.”
Pritchett said many Republicans are against the legalization of marijuana, but the party is realizing that the focus on marijuana is a waste of resources.
"When you have cops that are going after people for smoking a joint, they are diverting energy away from other crimes," Pritchett said.
Pritchett said he does not smoke marijuana but agrees with legalizing it because of his philosophical beliefs.
"No matter what you put in your body, you're responsible for your own actions," Pritchett said.
Students For Liberty also used the contest to advocate for a city of Tempe ordinance that would take some of the heat off of marijuana users, said finance senior Blaine Thiederman, the group's president.
Thiederman said he authored the ordinance because marijuana is too high of a priority for Tempe police officers who will take immediate action if they smell or suspect pot usage.
“(The ordinance) will lower the priority the city gives to marijuana,” Thiederman said. “If they smell weed and see something else, they will let it go.”
He said there is a social stigma surrounding marijuana that kids are raised to accept. He said the effort to warn kids about marijuana is a waste of time and money.
“If we can get this ordinance passed, it is the first step to legalization,” Thiederman said.
Adam Beck, a computer graphics senior at the University of Advancing Technology and a member of Students for Liberty, said he does not smoke marijuana because of his asthma but still believes that everyone has the right to smoke it if they want to.
“Smoking weed is a victimless crime,” Beck said. “If you own your body, you should be allowed to ingest whatever you see fit.”
Beck said conservatives have traditionally supported the legalization of marijuana, but the evangelical church created the stigma that surrounds it today.
“It’s an ironic belief,” Beck said. “Conservatives should be OK with marijuana legalization.”
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @Jthrall1