CY HIGH: ISU Mascot Controversy

Colorado is set to legalize marijuana next month but for now Washington is the only state where you can legally light-up.

Voters approved the change in the November election and earlier this week the new law was put in place.

Here in Iowa, there’s a different type of marijuana debate and Iowa State University’s mascot is at the center of the controversy.

It’s an idea Iowa State University isn’t too high on; using the school mascot to promote the legalization of marijuana.

The organization, NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, has a school approved chapter at ISU.  Unlike other school approved clubs, NORML was told the school’s mascot, Cy, could no longer be used on NORML tee shirts.

“We support the student organization.” says ISU Vice President of Student Affairs Thomas Hill, “We just don’t support the way they’re using Cy and the position they’re putting the university in in this particular situation.”

Specifically, that Cy and ISU were endorsing illegal marijuana use.

“We support the student organization.  We just don’t support the way they’re using Cy and the position they’re putting the university in in this particular situation.”

The club argues that the picture of Cy does not endorse illegal marijuana use.

“We did not use that kind of terms because we didn’t want anybody thinking this is a pot smoking club.” says ISU NORML Vice President Conor Hilz,  “This isn’t a pot smoking club.  It’s a political organization.  We get together as students and we’re here to try to change the laws.”

For now, the club will stop producing the shirts and work on a new design but members would still like to include Cy.  They say Cy represents all ISU students including those who want to change marijuana laws.

Hilz intends on, “seeing what they approve of, what they don’t approve of, going back, working with what they gave us and then making a new design. Hopefully coming up with a good compromise that we can both agree on.”

The university originally approved the tee shirts but has now changed their mind.

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