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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Students showcase pot-influenced art

<p>Jordan Shepherd, a 23-year-old sushi roller and former president of NORML Gators, jumps in to freestyle rap during the club’s meeting on cannabis and creativity Sept. 22, 2015. “Sober is hard, guys,” he said, laughing, after his performance.</p>

Jordan Shepherd, a 23-year-old sushi roller and former president of NORML Gators, jumps in to freestyle rap during the club’s meeting on cannabis and creativity Sept. 22, 2015. “Sober is hard, guys,” he said, laughing, after his performance.

Marijuana was a gateway drug to Polynesian dance for Alex Couture.

Now a 19-year-old UF physics freshman, he started attending music festivals when he started smoking pot about a year ago. He said seeing people there spin poi, an art form from New Zealand in which dancers spin sometimes-flaming balls on ropes, inspired him to try it for himself.

Tuesday night in a Little Hall classroom, Couture showed off his skills at a meeting of NORML Gators dedicated to the influence of cannabis on art. He and five other students showed performances and artwork they said weed helped them create to an audience of about 15.

“I pretty much suck when I’m not baked,” he said before spinning to “Color of My Soul” by Pretty Lights.

Couture performed sober at the meeting, he said, because he doesn’t want to risk being caught in possession of illegal drugs on campus.

Jordan Shepherd, 23, who was president of NORML Gators while a UF student in 2010, freestyle rapped.

“If I was high right now, it would be easier to do,” said Shepherd, who had come straight from his job making sushi.

Shepherd said he’d been rapping for 16 days. He began writing a mixtape, but after he wrote three pages and his ex-girlfriend’s cat pooped on them, he gave it up and decided to stick to freestyle.

Another student showed off a leaf-patterned tattoo she got a few days earlier after drawing it in a stroke of stoned inspiration.

President Brandon Harvey said this was the third yearly NORML Gators “art and cannabis” meeting. The club holds them to bring attention to marijuana’s positive effects on creativity.

Harvey performed a rap written just for the meeting with 21-year-old UF chemical engineering senior Taylor Col.

“Cannabis can really help you be creative, and it’s pretty fun to rap about,” he said. “There are a lot of cannabis-related words you can rhyme with.”

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Barbara Garrow, a 21-year-old UF wildlife ecology and conservation senior and treasurer of the club, showed off oil and acrylic paintings at the meeting.

 “I feel like art is very relaxing for me, and also cannabis is,” she said. “So it’s like double whammy. Awesomeness.”

Contact Nicole Gomez at ngomez@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @ngomez58

Jordan Shepherd, a 23-year-old sushi roller and former president of NORML Gators, jumps in to freestyle rap during the club’s meeting on cannabis and creativity Sept. 22, 2015. “Sober is hard, guys,” he said, laughing, after his performance.

Treasurer of NORML Gators shows off oil and acrylic paintings she said marijuana helped her create. “I feel like art is very relaxing for me, and also cannabis is,” she said. “So it’s like double whammy. Awesomeness.”

Alex Couture spins poi in a Little Hall classroom Sept 22, 2015. He said he brought them to the meeting without planning to perform. “I just kind of walk around with these,” he said.

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