When a group of students at Iowa State University (ISU) decided to dedicate their time — when not in class, of course — to fighting for marijuana legislation reform, they probably didn’t expect to generate national news with their T-shirts.
But when Iowa State violated the U.S. Constitution by banning the shirts, which featured the university’s mascot and a small marijuana leaf, they ended up costing taxpayers statewide some serious legal costs.
According to The Associated Press, the state will have to fork over $150,000 in damages to two members who serve leadership roles in the ISU chapter of NORML. Former students Erin Furleigh and Paul Gerlich will each receive half of the settlement. A state board determined the school violated the group’s right to free speech by prohibiting the shirts.
Additionally, taxpayers will foot the bill for $386,000 in legal fees to two law firms that represented the NORML chapter in the case and its subsequent appeals.
“It is an unambiguous win for our clients and for the First Amendment and for an understanding that violating people’s rights isn’t free,” said lead attorney for the students, Robert Corn-Revere. “One…