Speakers promote 4/20

Carlis McDerment speaks in Porter Hall 103. McDerment hopes to inspire students and citizens to lobby their state legislatures for change in Ohio’s policies towards drugs. (Alex Cenci | For The Post)

In addition to the typical brownie sale, Students for Liberty celebrated April 20 by addressing the effects drug prohibition has on society.

Students for Liberty, Ohio University’s Libertarian organization, hosted three speakers from the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws to argue for the legalization of marijuana for 4/20.

Nathan Kelly, a senior studying political science and an executive board member of Students for Liberty, said that this was the third 4/20event that Students for Liberty has sponsored.

Almost 100 students attended the speech, but 71 of those students came to Porter Hall Wednesday night for extra credit for Frederic Cady’s political science class, Kelly said.

Usually, the group holds a bake sale and asks a speaker from LEAP to speak, but this year they asked Michael Pevercomb, Eleanor Ahrens and Carlis McDerment, all members of LEAP and NORML, to talk about the benefits of legalizing marijuana.

“This year we decided that we wanted to bring new members,” Kelly said.

Kelly said the event was enhanced by donations of a prohibition awareness kit from the national division of Students for Liberty. The only costs OU’s Students for Liberty had to pay were for baking supplies.

This discussion was the first speech for speakers from NORML, who began organizing in December, said McDerment, who is also a Fairfield County deputy sheriff.

McDerment and Pevercomb plan to speak at more 4/20 festivals. From there, they say they will speak to senior citizens about the effects that the war on drugs has on society, McDerment said.

“That’s just what I want to do, get out there and educate people, get people’s minds thinking and going in a different direction,” McDerment said.

McDerment said many problems in society, such as crowded prisons and homeless citizens, would be solved by legalizing marijuana and considering those who are addicted sick and in need of help.

By speaking at universities and 4/20 festivals, McDerment said he hopes to inspire students and citizens to lobby their state legislatures for change in Ohio’s policies towards drugs.

“There has to be a change in this country,” he said. “We can’t keep going down the same road we’re going.”


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