Judge Upholds ISU Group's Cannabis Shirt

Jan 22, 2016

A federal judge today ruled in favor of an Iowa State University group which advocates for the legalization of marijuana.   

The ISU chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws or NORML went to court when the university threw out its t-shirt design.    

Iowa State University initially approved the shirt with ISU NORML’s logo including a cannabis leaf.     But after feedback from Republicans in state government, it rescinded the approval, claiming violation of the university’s trademark policy.  

NORML maintained that violated its first and fourteenth amendment rights, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa agreed. 

ISU rewrote its trademark policies to cover similar instances.   The court says the new policy can remain in effect for future cases, but banning the NORML shirt was a case of viewpoint discrimination, since it was done for political reasons.      

The court ruled that viewpoint discrimination is especially dangerous on a university campus.  

The university calls the ruling disappointing and says it will consult with the Iowa Attorney’s General office to determine if it will be appealed.