Ben Kollock, senior urban forestry and forest recreation major, was sitting in his environmental ethics class when he first felt a swollen lymph node in February 2014.

What he thought would just be the common cold ended up being much worse. After a visit to the doctor, Kollock discovered he had leukemia, a cancer that attacks bone marrow and the lymphatic system.

Doctors detected the cancer early, but Kollock had to stop school and work to begin chemotherapy in Marshfield.

Kollock was isolated as the doctors worked to rebuild his immune system, causing nausea and anxiety that no medication could treat. Doctors said they would prescribe him medical marijuana if they could, but for legal reasons they could not.

Many people in chemotherapy mentioned to Kollock that if medical marijuana was available to them, it would help them drink water and eat simple foods again.

“The second that I learned that, I just felt like there’s such an injustice that’s going on that no one is really doing anything about,” Kollock said.

Photo courtesy of stevenspointjournal.com.

Once back to health, Kollock researched the politics and science of marijuana.

He began at the local level and communicated with Stevens Point City Council members to request reducing the fine of marijuana possession  from $300 to $100. The council voted 7-4 to reduce the fine and lower the severity to the equivalence of a parking ticket.

Kollock continued to investigate that a second offense is an automatic felony, up to six months in jail and possible $10,000 fine.

“The punishment should fit the crime. It does not right now and that is something that needs to be fixed,” Kollock said. “Simple marijuana possession is not a severe crime in any way, shape or form.”

Although still in the process of lowering the punishment

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