Senate Passes NORML's Resolution

Senate Passes NORML's Resolution
Posted by CN Staff on February 12, 2007 at 06:21:36 PT
By Erica Mandell, Campus News Reporter
Source: Daily Colonial
Washington, DC -- The Student Association adopted CASE, a resolution to support Cannabis-Alcohol Sanction Equalization, at their meeting last week. The resolution passed with a vote of 11 to seven with one abstaining. The resolution called on the SA to recognize that “the recreational use of cannabis by students at The George Washington University poses a lesser risk to both users and the GW community than either alcohol or tobacco.” Its purpose is to “reduce sanctions for responsible cannabis use by students of The George Washington University.”
The sponsoring student organization, GW NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), is dedicated to educating the community about responsible marijuana use and lobbying for the protection of the rights of users. According to D.C. law, possession of alcohol by minors and possession of marijuana are both misdemeanors. GW NORML, therefore, argues that these two offenses deserve equal treatment under University policies. Currently, possession of illegal drugs and/or paraphernalia with residue constitutes a violation of the University drug policy. The minimum punishment for a first time offender is a $50 fine, required participation in a drug abuse education program, and eviction from the residence halls. The violator also loses any financial aid. A second time offender receives a $100 fine as well as an evaluation by a certified service at the student’s expense. Finally, a third time offender meets with the Dean to consider whether or not they should continue at the University. Manufacture, distribution, or possession with the intent to distribute drugs is sanctioned with a one year suspension. However,those who violate the alcohol policy receive the same punishment without being evicted from the residence halls or losing any financial aid. A violator who is taken to the hospital receives amnesty from punishment for a first time offense. Policy rhetoric aside, the drug policy is commonly referred to as a “no tolerance policy.” Where the alcohol policy has been deemed a “three strike policy.” GW NORML finds the discrepancy between the consequences illogical. In their presentation to the Senate, they said that violent crimes are the result of alcohol and not drugs, also adding that the current University policy has not deterred marijuana use as students continue to use marijuana despite the consequences. During a period of debate within the Senate, GW NORML addressed concerns for softening punishment for marijuana use. Some of this concern stemmed from what is known as the “Gateway Theory.” This theory hypothesizes that marijuana often leads to the use of habit forming drugs, or drugs with more severe physical consequences. Greg Hersh ‘08, President of GW NORML, however, said that research does not support this theory. “Adolescent marijuana use is not a reliable predictor of later substance abuse, according to clinical trial data published in The American Journal of Psychiatry,” according to the CASE Resolution. While it is ultimately up to the Board of Trustees to change University policy, GW NORML is focused on emphasizing student support. “We’ve been in contact with many, many who share our sentiment,” said Hersh. Senators were also equally enthusiastic about formalizing support for their cause. “This is going to be as the SA the most important thing we do this year. We have students here who actually care,” said Sen. Kevin Kozlowski ‘09 (ESIA-U). “People have said to me, thank God the SA finally picked up something I care about,” said Sen. Jessica Jacobson ’09 (ESIA-U). Sen. Michael Gettlin (SB-G) and others were hesitant however. The most common objections resulted from the belief that only those with more medical expertise would be able to make proper decisions regarding the effects of marijuana. Some also highlighted the fact that while alcohol is eventually legal to consume, marijuana is not. Still others disagreed with the University’s current discrimination. “Marijuana unlike alcohol is not lethal or addictive,” said Sen. Luke Moses ‘07(CCAS-U). “Alcohol poisoning is linked to hundreds of preventable deaths each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, while cannabis cannot cause death by overdose,” says the Resolution. GW NORML was pleased with the evening’s vote. Senate support for the resolution cannot actually change University policy, it does however, “offer legitimacy to our cause,” said Hersh. The group says it is confident that the SA represents student feeling, but their work does not end with the Senate. They aim to pass a referendum to allow for the expression of student voice on the subject. If a referendum passes it would bind the Senate to put a measure on the run-off election ballot for a vote. Administrative change is still viewed as a long shot by some students despite its logic. “I think they should [change the policy.] Both are illegal so the Administration should treat them equally,” said Laura Salema ’09. Sapir Elazar, vice-president of GW NORML was also pleased with the evening’s outcome. “Our resolution was very well cited,” adding that the vote required a moral evaluation as well as a medical one. Elazar described the organization’s members as lobbyists, and said this is only the beginning of their fight. "I think this is an important first step in the Senate working for what students want as opposed to internal procedure. I would like to take it even further and advocate for this resolution with the administration,” said Sen. Christopher Rotella ‘08 (CCAS-U). GW NORML’s next step is to endorse an SA presidential candidate who will continue to support their cause. The endorsement will take place tonight at 7 p.m. See the Code of Student Conduct and Senate Resolution SB-S07-04 for more information.   Source: Daily Colonial (DC)Author: Erica Mandell, Campus News ReporterPublished: Sunday, February 11, 2007 Copyright: 2007 Daily ColonialContact: daily gwu.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #1 posted by Toker00 on February 12, 2007 at 09:16:12 PT
This started out so Sweet...
"Washington, DC -- The Student Association adopted CASE, a resolution to support CANNABIS-Alcohol Sanction Equalization, at their meeting last week."The students worked real hard to make that come out CASE and not MASE.Then the author used the "M" word the rest of the way.NORML, I hereby request that you change you name to NORCL! Maybe we should start a campaign against the "M" word. If you are a racist for using the "N" word, then you are a SPECIST if you use the "M" word. Stop SPECISM in America! (You know! Species...Specist, Specism...)National Organization for the Reform of Cannabis Laws!NORCL. Learn it, say it.Be proud to be a Green/American! Be proud of your Greenness!Green is Beautiful, man!Toke. 
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