Alan and Steven Proctor are looking to get rid of the stereotype of ?stoners.?
The twins, both freshmen at ASU, started the University chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws last semester, hosting the club?s first event on Tuesday ? ?4/20? or marijuana smokers? annual holiday.
The group rallied in front of the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus.
?We are going for the ultimate goal,? NORML president Alan Proctor said. ?Full-on legalization and regulation of marijuana. We?re signing people up for membership, trying to raise awareness [and] spread as much education as possible.?
State Press Television
By Daryl Bjoraas
Alan Proctor, a civil engineering undergraduate, said the most common misconception about people who smoke marijuana is the effect it has on them.
?When someone thinks about a stoner, they typically think about someone that is lazy and unmotivated, or someone dropping out of school or just not doing their homework because they smoke marijuana,? he said. ?That is all about the individual. Those connotations and labels put on people who smoke, those are not true.?
Vice president Steven Proctor, a biology major, said the club?s first event had a positive response from the public, including many students who stopped by and talked with NORML members.
?This being our first event, we?re really just testing the waters, keeping everything legal,? Steven Proctor said. ?NORML provided legal herbs to students for a symbolic smoke-out.
A lot of places do real smoke-outs to show the disagreements with the law but we are ? a little less bold than that.?
Both brothers said the stigma placed on those who smoke marijuana often hinders their ability to speak up about their rights.
?That is one thing people have to overcome,? Steven Proctor said. ?We have to get over the initial paranoia of being open and public about our opinion. People are afraid to come out and say they want to see marijuana prohibition come to an end.?
Steven Proctor said it isn?t about promoting marijuana.
?What we are advocating for is law reform,? he said.
The all-day event included music, speakers and stand-up comedy by ASU Comedy Club improvisation group Barren Mind.
April 20 is widely considered ?National Weed Day,? an unofficial holiday among marijuana enthusiasts that continues to gain popularity worldwide.
The history of 4/20 goes back to 1971, and to a group of friends at San Rafael High School in California. At 4:20 p.m., the group would meet every week to smoke marijuana. The group eventually became known as the Waldos.
Steven Bloom, a writer for marijuana magazine High Times, reported on the popularity of ?4:20? in 1991, following a concert by The Grateful Dead where the phrase was widely passed through the subculture of the band.
Alan Proctor said the way the holiday grew to be so big decades ago is the same reason it is so big today.
?In 2010, it is all about word of mouth,? Proctor said.
Civil engineer Mark Sigelnski, 45, said he is always on the Internet looking for local 4/20 festivals, and he saw NORML was putting on an all-day event.
Sigelnski said he openly supports marijuana law reform and is a smoker himself for medical reasons.
?Arizona is going to be an uphill battle for law reform,? he said.
Marijuana should be legalized and regulated, Sigelnski said, a process he claims would make it more difficult for children to obtain the drug.
?You ask a high school student what is easier to get ? alcohol or marijuana ? and they will tell you marijuana,? he said.
By establishing a legal process to obtain marijuana, the number of people going to private dealers and risking getting hooked on a more serious drug is reduced, Sigelnski said.
Art junior Shannon Renz said she is against marijuana use and its legalization.
?I actually forgot that [4/20] was today,? she said. ?I?ve heard people say that marijuana is good for you, [but] it?s still a drug, that?s still smoke and no smoke can be good for you.?
Renz said she understands the hype about marijuana and making it legal, but people often follow along without reason.
?It?s cool, it?s funny, it?s exciting, it?s generally accepted but people seem obscenely stupid on the topic and automatically go with the flow and not think about the consequences,? she said. ?They don?t think about the ramifications of what it means. It?s still a drug.?
Reach the reporter at email@example.com