Hunter S. Scholarship Winners!

May 22, 2017

Every year Colorado NORML has offered a Scholarship in the name of the great Hunter S. Thompson. This Scholarship is awarded to those individuals who are active learners, educators, and movers within the Cannabis movement. These recipients of the scholarship get the opportunity to attend the 2017 Aspen Legal Conference CBA-CLE Annual Conferences
Annual Conferences are much more than Continuing Legal Education. This knowledge gained is taken back with each individual to help the greater cause. Anyone can attend the conferences. Sign up HERE (link).


The Hunter S. Thompson Scholarship winners on top of a 4-night stay in Aspen at the Gant Hotel and admission to the 3-day Aspen legal seminar, they also get to attend the Goldstein's Dinner, and cocktail party. After this they head out to Hunter S. Thompson “Owl Farm” for a good ole’ cookout!


The competition was intense, and all who applied were commended for their achievements, extracurricular activities, and determination to ending cannabis prohibition.


Colorado NORML was excited to have the privilege offering three HST Scholarships this year, first ever since the HST Scholarship has been awarded, and we hope to continue growing that number in the future years.


Meet our 3 Hunter S. Thompson Scholarship Recipients: Rachel Koch, Heather Gioffredi, and Starr Rafford! Congratulations again!

Rachel Koch has twenty years of experience teaching both young people and adults in New Mexico, Chicago, and Ecuador, she was inspired to study law while working at Facing History and Ourselves, a teacher training organization where the evolution of International Human Rights Law is a focus. Her third year of law school, she clerked at the Office of the Public Defender of Cook County and was in a courtroom with defendants almost exclusively accused of drug crimes. There I saw that the international human rights issues previously studied at DePaul, in Costa Rica and in Italy were present in Chicago. She made it to the Public Defender’s Office in 2012, where she started and chose to continue at the Child Protection Conflicts Division. She regularly represents parents penalized for casual marijuana use and reunite parents with their children.

Heather Gioffredi is another Hunter S. Thompson Scholarship recipient. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, her undergraduate major was in Law, Politics, and Society and she graduated from Colorado Law in 2013. Heather currently works as a public defender in the La Junta Regional Office, handling a mixed felony and misdemeanor caseload. Heather is also the DUI liaison for her office, and in that capacity, is required to keep current on issues affecting DUI and DUI-D litigation and be a resource to the other members of her office in these types of cases. The La Junta office covers southeastern Colorado's 15th and 16th Judicial Districts. These districts have been resistant to recent changes in Colorado's marijuana laws, including laws permitting individuals to use medical marijuana while on probation. Heather believes that attending this Aspen legal conference will help her better advocate for clients individually in marijuana-related cases, and spread her knowledge to the rest of her colleagues.

Starr Rafford, from Chicago as well is changing the practicing of cannabis law in Illinois. She is part of a small group of attorneys that is working to start an Illinois cannabis Bar Association which will provide information, networking, opportunities, and volunteer experiences for attorneys who are interested in working within the Cannabis law space. There are many attorneys interested in marijuana legalization and opportunity to practice within the Cannabis law space, but unfortunately there is not yet an organization that provides such an opportunity for all these attorneys to learn from and network with. Starr is active in a variety of Bar Association: The Black Women Lawyers Association of Chicago (BWLA), the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and DRI (an association for insurance defense attorneys). By attending the NORML Legal Aspen Seminar, she feels it will allow her the opportunity to share the knowledge and connections gained during the seminar to help other attorneys who are interested in working to reform marijuana law.


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