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4/20 Cannabis Symposium at CU Boulder

Posted: April 20, 2016 at 8:10 am by , in Breaking News, Featured, Morning Magazine

“If the state of Colorado is going to be in the vanguard of cannabis policy reform then the University of Colorado as the flagship public university, should be in the vanguard of cannabis education reform.”

The 2016 Cannabis Symposium is happening on April 20th on the CU Boulder Campus. Carol Conzelman who teaches an Anthropology and Drug Policy course at CU is the co-organizer and the faculty advisor for the 2016 Cannabis Symposium.  She says they are trying to shake the image of previous 4/20 events  where hundreds of students participated in smoke outs, leading campus officials to close the campus to prevent the activities. Conzelman says those were wasted opportunities to have real conversations about drug policy.  “I was in grad school when the smoke outs happened and it just was a wasted opportunity every year.  I just thought…no one’s talking about any of the issues…there’s no context, no political organizing, there didn’t seem to be much purpose of the gathering beyond rebellion.”

James Gould is a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) the other co-organizers of the symposium.  He says that there needs to be a serious discussion about the impact of drug policy in the US.  “There’s very big damage done to society by drug usage and by drug prohibition and we believe that prohibition doesn’t do anything to reduce this amount of damage. These Black and Latino communities have been seriously affected by these drug laws. The prison population has sky rocketed and drug overdoses have gone up and the same thing happened during alcohol prohibition. More people were dying of alcohol overdoses and people moved to harder alcohols and harder liquors because they were easier to smuggle and the same thing happens to drugs.”

Gould says there is still a major stigma surrounding cannabis usage especially on campuses. “The stigma surrounding these things, regardless of legality is something we’re trying to fight with the cannabis symposium.”

Conzelman says that the University of Colorado has a unique opportunity to lead the way in educating its students and the state at large on cannabis issues.  She cites research already happening at CU Boulder, including research into the genome of the cannabis plant.

“If the state of Colorado is going to be in the vanguard of cannabis policy reform then the University of Colorado as the flagship public university, should be in the vanguard of cannabis education reform.”

Organizers say that this is a non-consumptive event and people seen openly consuming cannabis will be asked to leave. “We want this to be inclusive and ultimately represent a lot of different perspectives.”

 

The Cannabis Symposium will take place on 4/20 from 10 AM to 9 PM in the Glenn Miller Ballroom in the University Memorial Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. The event will feature 5 keynote speakers, 8 panels, discussions led by student organizations, and more. CU Boulder Police Chief Melissa Zak will be giving the opening plenary address at 10 AM. KGNU producers Brigitte Mars and Leland Rucker will be participating on some of the panels.

This event is free and open to the public.