Can you hear me now?
With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Stephanie Morphet hit the steps of the State Capitol Building on Tuesday to issue a message to lawmakers concerning the illegality of marijuana.
"The current legislation encourages — people in my age bracket particularly, university students — to drink, instead of use a safer form of recreation, being marijuana," the 21-year-old UCCS student recaps in a phone conversation.
Without speaking to the role of marijuana, a 2002 study from Wayne State University finds that roughly half of college-level sexual assaults "involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, the victim or both."
It's an issue close to Morphet's heart: She says she was a victim of a booze-fueled sexual assault at a party in July 2010. Additionally, she's the founder of the two-year-old campus chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, which works with groups also present at the Capitol: the Women's Marijuana Movement and SAFER (Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation), both of whose members spoke and passed out literature.
"We're pretty much just bringing attention to that issue, and trying to get people to thinking about how the current marijuana prohibition is affecting issues like sexual assault," Morphet says.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has updated its database to reflect recent medical marijuana numbers. As of March 31:
• 123,890 Coloradans hold MMJ red cards, 63 percent of which have designated an individual as their primary caregiver. In El Paso County alone, 13,474 are registered, the third most after Denver and Jefferson counties, respectively.
• Also, 69 percent are male with an average age of 39, while 31 percent are female with an average age of 42.
• And 94 percent list "severe pain" as a condition; 21 percent list "muscle spasms;" and 12 percent list "severe nausea." A combined 6 percent list "cancer," "cachexia," "glaucoma," "HIV/AIDS" and "seizures." (Numbers total more than 100 percent because multiple conditions may be listed.)
• The advocacy group Americans for Safe Access has given President Barack Obama an F for his policies toward medical marijuana, saying he's "responsible for ... more than a hundred aggressive criminal enforcement raids ..."
• Estimates from the Colorado Springs Police Department put attendance at this past week's Field of Dreamz — a 4/20 music celebration in America the Beautiful Park — in the realm of 600 people.
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