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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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LFTE: Introducing The Collegian’s new cannabis section

Graphic illustration depicting hands holding a parchment letter that reads "Letter from the Editor" surrounded by a collage of envelopes in the background
(Graphic Illustration by Jake Dunaetz | The Collegian)

Dear readers,

We are excited to share with you that The Collegian has created a new desk dedicated to cannabis. As we welcome a new staff of editors, writers, photographers and designers, we also are welcoming a new direction and vision for this paper, and that means tapping into content we shied away from in the past. 

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First and foremost, we care about crafting content for our primary audience: college students. Following in the footsteps of many other publications, we feel The Collegian is ready to take the step of dedicating coverage to cannabis in Fort Collins and Colorado.

We want to act as a source of information on laws, regulations and the culture of the industry, while also honing in on what cannabis consumption looks like in Fort Collins and for Colorado State University students.”

Originally, we planned to call this section the marijuana section. However, after learning about the origins of the word marijuana and its racist ideology, we wanted to use a different and more overarching term, landing on the cannabis section instead. 

We know that cannabis is important to a lot of our readers, and the community holds a long-standing presence in Fort Collins. Our hope is that with this desk, we will be able to share the stories, triumphs and difficulties faced by those in the cannabis community. Further, we want college students to be as informed as possible about the topic, as it is so prevalent in our community and in Colorado. Knowledge is a powerful catalyst for change and can keep consumers safe from legal, financial or health troubles.

We want to act as a source of information on laws, regulations and the culture of the industry while also honing in on what cannabis consumption looks like in Fort Collins and for Colorado State University students. It is our hope that more coverage surrounding the topic will reduce the stigma around it as well. 

Aligning with that goal, our first story under this section by Cannabis Director Hayden Hawley discusses a study addressing the overuse of cannabis, something that is largely seen in college communities. It is often perceived that people are using cannabis a lot more than they actually are, which lends itself to a culture of overuse. 

Cannabis remains a federally illegal Schedule I drug, despite numerous states’ successful adoption of recreational and medicinal cannabis. According to a 2020 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, a large racial disparity still exists between Black and white people arrested for cannabis possession in every state. That being said, cannabis is more than just a medical or economic industry; it is a social justice issue.

Not everyone is eager to see cannabis legalized on a federal level or in their home state. Even though our content may not interest all of our readers, we are glad to connect to that community to open up thoughtful, informed conversations. We are also glad to reach out to a community of readers who may feel cannabis is an underrepresented topic.

Further, we are happy to give our writers, editors, photographers and designers the opportunity to engage with this topic in their coverage and expand their capabilities in reporting and media. We hope this addition is a positive and fun one for everyone involved at The Collegian and for all our readers. 

If you have tips, coverage ideas, questions, concerns or would like to work for the cannabis desk, please reach out to us at cannabis@collegian.com

Katrina Leibee, editor-in-chief

Serena Bettis, content managing editor

Devin Cornelius, digital and design managing editor

The editorial board can be reached at editor@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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About the Contributor
Katrina Leibee, Editor-in-Chief
Katrina Leibee is serving as The Rocky Mountain Collegian's editor in chief for the 2021-22 academic year. Leibee started at The Collegian during the fall of her freshman year writing for the opinion desk. She then moved up to assistant opinion editor and served as the opinion director for the 2020-21 academic year. Leibee is a journalism and political science double major, but her heart lies in journalism. She enjoys writing, editing and working with a team of people to create the paper more than anything. Ask anyone, Leibee loves her job at The Collegian and believes in the great privilege and opportunity that comes with holding a job like this. The biggest privilege is getting to work with a team of such smart, talented editors, writers, photographers and designers. The most important goal Leibee has for her time as editor in chief is to create change, and she hopes her and her staff will break the status quo for how The Collegian has previously done things and for what a college newspaper can be. From creating a desk dedicated entirely to cannabis coverage to transitioning the paper into an alt-weekly, Leibee hopes she can push the boundaries of The Collegian and make it a better paper for its readers and its staff. Leibee is not one to accept a broken system, sit comfortably inside the limits or repeat the words, "That's the way we've always done things." She is a forward thinker with a knack for leadership, and she has put together the best staff imaginable to bring The Collegian to new heights.

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