Young Americans for Liberty protest War on Drugs

The local chapter of Young Americans for Liberty set up a table on the Quad to protest the War on Drugs by giving away free “pot brownies.” The brownies were given out of an actual pot to students on Wednesday in anticipation of the upcoming unofficial holiday for those who support the legalization of marijuana: 4/20.

Dan Humbrecht, president of YAL and sophomore in Engineering, operated the table along with 15 other members of the Registered Student Organization. 

“4/20 is basically the day that everybody comes together for the idea of legalization and support for ending marijuana prohibition,” he said. “It’s just our way of bringing awareness to how the war on drugs has really failed, and it’s time for us to pursue some other options.”

Jason Spangehl, a civil and defense attorney, supported the group’s message and stopped by the table. 

“I do a lot of small criminal defense work for people who have been arrested for marijuana infractions, and I definitely support legalization,” he said. “It’s definitely not a good lifestyle choice, but at the same time, we’re not making any improvements in their life by putting them in jail.”

Humbrecht added that the pursuing of drug crimes, instead of violent crimes, is inefficient.

“It’s a huge drain on government resources, too, to have law enforcement pursuing victimless crimes like drug crimes and to spend their resources doing this rather than investigating violent crimes and things along those lines,” Humbrecht said.

Also on Wednesday, the Illinois House passed a measure that would allow medical marijuana to be prescribed to patients with illnesses that were laid out in the law. Gov. Pat Quinn indicated that he is open-minded to signing the bill into law.

Jvon Howard, junior in LAS, spoke about the government’s influence.

“The government is working to protect us, and we’re going against the government by trying to influence the drug into society, and that’s messing up peoples lives,” he said.

Economics lecturer Isaac DiIanni said that full legalization or medical legalization would be beneficial economically for the U.S.

“I would support legalization for personal liberty reasons,” he said. “The cost savings on the drug war would be positive. I believe that the benefits of legalization outweigh the cost.”

Nyajai can be reached at The Associated Press contributed to this report.