In some very interesting marijuana news, a misguided attempt at censorship by Iowa State University is going to be costing them a cool $1 million after a long legal battle with several of its own students. Back in 2012, the school had tried to prevent a few entrepreneurial undergrads from designing and selling ISU NORML shirts or any shirts that contained any reference to marijuana. As a result, the students involved took the matter to the courts since they viewed the school’s objection as being politically motivated and infringing on their first amendment rights. Wisely, the Iowa courts eventually ruled in the students’ favor and deemed Iowa State’s actions as being unconstitutional as well as a violation of their right to free speech.
Unfortunately, the real losers in this case are Iowa’s taxpayers. While this entire case was more than likely a political ploy as many suspect, the expenses will ultimately end up being paid for by residents who may or may not have had any issue with this to begin with, yet had little say on how their money was being spent. With over a million dollars to dish out (not including the amount of tax dollars spent by the DA’s office to fight this case) it seems to me that this was a huge waste of both time and money for all involved!
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University’s unconstitutional crackdown on a pro-marijuana student group‘s T-shirts will cost state taxpayers nearly $1 million in damages and legal fees.
Court documents indicate a judge approved $598,208 in attorney fees and costs on Wednesday. That amount is in addition to payments the state agreed to in January to settle the case including $75,000 each to Paul Gerlich and Erin Furleigh, the students who filed the lawsuit in 2014 and $193,000 to their lawyers for federal court appeals.
The $940,000 total doesn’t include work by the Iowa Attorney General’s office, which represented ISU administrators.
The costs stem from a politically-motivated attempt by university administrators in 2012 to block T-shirt designs that featured the ISU mascot and a marijuana leaf.
Judges found ISU administrators violated the students’ free-speech rights.