A U.S. District Court has ruled that Iowa State University cannot use trademark policy to prevent students from using ISU logos on t-shirts that contain marijuana leaves. The decision is the result of a long court case in which the ISU chapter of NORML brought suit against the university for having its t-shirt design denied.
ISU’s trademark office initially approved the design, but then reversed the decision after news articles began circulating about the shirt, which raised questions over the university’s stance on marijuana.
The students argued that they were denied because of their political beliefs, and district judge James E. Gritzner agreed.
“These circumstances show that (Iowa State administrators) took action specifically directed at NORML ISU based on their views and the political reaction to those views so that (Iowa State) could maintain favor with Iowa political figures,” Gritzner wrote.
Speaking with The Gazette, Paul Gerlich, one of the two plaintiffs, said that he hopes this case will help other students and that he “can’t wait to see what new T-shirt designs we come up with.”