Club promotes more lenient drug policies

Irv Rosenfeld signs his book for students on Tuesday night. "I want cannibus in the hands of patients," says Rosenfeld. Adrianne D'Angelo//The Miami Hurricane
Irv Rosenfeld signs his book for students on Tuesday night. "I want cannibus in the hands of patients," he said. Adrianne D'Angelo//The Miami Hurricane

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) wants to make misconceptions about drugs go up in smoke.

SSDP was formed to bring a science- and compassion-based perspective to drug policy. The group hopes to educate students about drug policy issues, ranging from the decriminalization of marijuana to the treatment of drug addiction in the United States.

“Look at how we handle the war on drugs; it’s not based on what’s best for our citizens,” said Alfred Kilzi, SSDP president and co-founder. “People who have medical problems are getting sent to jail.”

The Committee on Student Organizations recently ratified the club’s constitution, despite its controversial stance. But, many members still feel that there shouldn’t be a stigma about discussing drugs openly.

“It’s not a thing where only druggies get it,” said junior Lilly Kofler, vice president and co-founder of the club. “It’s not mythology. There’s scientific proof behind what [experts] say.”

In addition to weekly meetings, the club brings in guest speakers like doctors and lawyers for events. It also screens movies that deal with U.S. drug policies, like “Square Grouper.”

“I’m not from Florida and seeing the different scenarios in South Florida made me realize how much was going on,” sophomore Will Hauptle said.

Square grouper is a slang term for a bale of marijuana that is thrown off a boat after a drug raid.

On Tuesday, the club hosted an event featuring medical-marijuana-advocate Irv Rosenfeld. He is one of the few remaining patients that receive medical marijuana through a federal program that started in the 1970s and lasted until the early 1990s. Through this program, patients with severe illnesses were guaranteed medical marijuana for the rest of their lives.

“I want cannibus in the hands of patients,” Rosenfeld said. “I think everybody should be able to grow their own.”

Rosenfeld, who is the vice president of a stock brokerage firm in Fort Lauderdale, receives 300 joints every 25 days from the federal government. Over the last 30 years, he has received more than 120,000 joints. He uses the marijuana to alleviate the pain from his diseases, which include multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis and pseudohypoparathyroidism. Both result in painful bone tumors. Rosenfeld has advocated for medical marijuana in numerous states and has testified in front of Congress.

“I proved that one person can make a difference,” Rosenfeld said. “A majority of one is still a majority.”

After the event, he found a designated smoking area near the library to smoke one of his joints. While he was smoking and answering questions from people who attended the event, a cop stopped Rosenfeld to question him about the marijuana. Though the cop and Rosenfeld only spoke for a short time, Rosenfeld did have to show various forms of proof that stated the marijuana was legal. This has happened countless times because of his unique situation. Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. This means that the government does not recognize marijuana as medically beneficial.

Rosenfeld’s case has been viewed with interest by many of the SSDP members.

“He is the living contradiction to the Schedule 1 classification of marijuana,” Kofler said. “He’s a strong case for any type of marijuana reform. He is someone to be studied.”

Hauptle attended Rosenfeld’s event to learn about what “one man can do with his federal license.”

“The government grows the marijuana for Rosenfeld while it tells the public that the drug has no medical benefits,” Hauptle said.

Through the event, members hope to educate students about the possibilities of medical marijuana.

“To say marijuana has absolutely no medical benefits is disingenuous,” Kilzi said. “The U.S. should be researching this.”