WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a unique fundraising campaign aimed at a group that suffers some of the worst harm from current marijuana laws, the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation is asking fraternities and sororities nationwide to select MPP Foundation as the beneficiary of their charitable efforts this year.

"College students suffer needlessly in the name of America's futile, failed war on marijuana," said Rob Kampia, executive director of MPP in Washington, D.C. "Under federal law, conviction for mere possession of a joint can cost a student his or her financial aid, damaging careers and futures for no good reason. It's time to stop this madness, and we're asking fraternities and sororities, whose members are directly affected, to join the fight."

According to the FBI, over 330,000 Americans aged 18 to 22 were arrested on drug charges in 2003 -- a figure that understates the true number because not all police agencies report complete age data on arrestees. Nearly half of all drug arrests are for marijuana, and 88 percent of marijuana arrests are for possession, not sale or cultivation.

MPP's mailing explains that the horrific effects of marijuana prohibition can go far beyond the mere loss of financial aid. In June 2003, a 19-year-old Florida college student, serving a weekend sentence on marijuana charges, was raped by his cellmate, a violent offender who was awaiting trial on a charge of sexual battery. And in August 2005, 23 -year-old Anthony Diotaiuto was shot and killed by police who barged into his home at 6:15 a.m. to search for marijuana.

For those wondering whether their school would permit a marijuana- related philanthropy project, the mailing explains that "MPP Foundation is a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) educational organization, just like the American Cancer Society and the Children's Miracle Network."

With more than 18,000 members and 120,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana — both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. For more information, please visit MarijuanaPolicy.org.