CSU collects materials documenting the marijuana legalization movement

Veronica Baas

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Documents for the Amendment 64 Collection are being researched and organized in Morgan Library. (Photo credit: Cisco Mora)

This summer, Colorado State University’s Archives and Special Collections Department started gathering materials to create the Amendment 64 Collection.

This archival collection will consist of any documents related to the legalization of marijuana in effort to preserve this historical event.

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Janet Bishop, the coordinator for Archives and Special Collections at CSU, introduced the idea of finding materials for an archive on this topic.

“I guess it’s fair to say it was my idea, but I did get input,” Bishop said. “I thought this would be good, even though perhaps controversial.”

The Amendment 64 Collection is part of the Agricultural and Natural Resources archive, one of several archives the department manages. It will be made up of text-based materials, photographs, video footage and stories of Amendment 64, an oral history project based on the legalization of marijuana.

“Usually it’s a reflective, thoughtful thing,” Bishop said about Stories of Amendment 64. “Where they’re talking about themselves and their community, and also what they can really do, and what they think the future (of the topic) will be.”

The department conducts these interviews with various people who disagree on the issue to create a well-rounded documentation of the topic.

David Lucas, a junior at CSU studying political science, said he believes the creation of this archive is a good way to educate the community.

“I think that it’s a pretty good idea, because right now I feel like there’s not a lot of people who are informed about marijuana,” Lucas said.

Since the legalization of marijuana is so controversial, Bishop reached out to administration and other members of the CSU community for feedback on creating the archive.

Last year the project started on a media file, a small collection of newspaper clippings and other pieces related to the amendment.

“Because of the nature of the topic, we wanted to make sure that everybody was accepting of us going forward with more than just the media file for this collection,” Bishop said.

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In the months that followed, processing archivists began reaching out to the community to gather materials for the collection.

“We’re trying to get a wide, well-rounded spectrum,” Bishop said. “So if you’re a researcher coming in 75 years from now and you wanted to write a paper or a book, you could see where did Colorado sit in terms of this topic and why it was significant.”

The collection is just starting to be developed, but once it is processed, the department will write a history to serve as a guide to the collection.

CSU is the first in the state to start an archive related to Amendment 64.

“I don’t know any other universities that would possibly be interested in doing something like this,” Lucas said. “So I think that if CSU could get their feet in the water first, that would be a great opportunity for the school.”

Students are welcome to browse collections like this one to find materials for research papers or other projects. These archives can be found on the department’s website.

“So this is open and accessible to students and faculty, the community and the public, and that’s what we encourage,” Bishop said. “That’s why we collect things and preserve them — so that people can use them.”

Collegian Reporter Veronica Baas can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @vcbaas.