Marijuana reformers seek help from Greeks

Nearly all drug arrests are a result of marijuana, and 88 percent are for marijuana possession. Because of this, the Marijuana Policy Project seeks help from fraternities and sororities to prevent marijuana use on college campuses.

Located in Washington D.C., MPP is the largest national organization devoted to reforming marijuana laws in the United States.

With nearly 18,000 members all over the U.S., MPP works to minimize the harm of the consumption of marijuana and the laws that intend to prevent usage.

“Marijuana needs to be regulated as much as alcohol,” said Bruce Mirken, director of communications for MPP.

Mirken hopes MPP appeals to college fraternities and sororities to be used as a charitable event to spread the word of marijuana-usage prevention.

“Fraternities and sororities seem like a logical place to start since a lot of members reach out to college students,” junior Jamie Mahoney, member of Iota Delta sorority, said.

The idea came into action when some members of MPP, who are in fraternities or sororities, suggested the project to Mirken.

“College students are disproportionally hurt by marijuana laws,” Mirken said. “Many arrests are made to college students because of marijuana usage.”

At some universities, if a student is caught using marijuana, he or she can lose their financial aid or suffer other consequences, Mirken said.

As reported by MPP, Anthony Diotaiuto, a 23-year-old student, was shot and killed by police who searched his home for marijuana in August.

“Three-quarters of a million people are arrested every year for marijuana usage,” Mirken said.

Mirken hopes people get involved with the program and become comfortable with it.

“Fraternities and sororities are organized collections of students who can reach out to their fellow peers and make this situation be known throughout campus,” Mirken said.

Senior Jim Richardson, a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, agrees that this program is a great idea.

“It will show the communities that fraternities and sororities want to break away from the stereotype that we’re all drug users and binge drinkers,” Richardson said.

“We want to be productive members of society,” he added.

Also, the MPP Foundation is a tax-deductible educational program, so most schools should permit it as a philanthropic project.

“It is all about grass-roots organizing and changing these ridiculous marijuana laws,” Mirken added.

Organizations and individuals can get involved with MPP by visiting their Web site at www.mpp.org.

Hugo Bryan Castillo can be reached at hcastill@ulv.edu.

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