Sensibility on Cannabis

Sensibility on Cannabis
Posted by CN Staff on February 20, 2007 at 09:34:52 PT
By Rebecca Ogle
Source: Diamondback
Maryland -- Are you high right now?" Stephen Colbert asked Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, who appeared on the Jan. 8 episode of The Colbert Report. This question is the standard response to any proposal intended to reform insensible drug policies. So, in answer, I am not high right now, nor am I a stoner. One does not need to be personally affected by unjust policies in order to see why they must change.
On Feb. 27, the Residence Halls Association will vote on a proposal to move possession of a small amount of marijuana from an A-level violation to a B-level violation in the Residence Hall Rules. A-level violations include offenses such as setting fires, breaking into a dorm room and use of a weapon. Immediate housing termination is the standard punishment for these offenses because, except for marijuana possession, all of them significantly harm other students and/or their property.B-level violations include underage alcohol possession and "disorderly, or disruptive behaviors which interfere with another person's free exercise of academic or personal pursuits or their ability to sleep or study." These violations may harm the individual, often disrupt dorm residents and always result in disciplinary action. However, in most cases, housing termination is deemed an inappropriate sanction for B-level violations.To me, housing termination (not to mention police involvement, one-year suspension, potential loss of financial aid, etc.) does not seem like a remotely practical or fair way of dealing with students who possess a small amount of marijuana.Under the proposed change, cultivation and distribution of marijuana would remain an A-level violation, which eliminates any incentive for distributors and cultivators to increase their illegal activities on the campus. However, possessing an amount of marijuana too small for distribution would become a B-level violation. Only students who have small amounts would be affected by the proposed change. Thus, the amount of crime on the campus would not increase.It is true the university cannot condone marijuana use or underage drinking. However, it can respect students' ability to learn from their mistakes instead of enforcing zero-tolerance policies that greatly hinder academic success. Only 48 hours after the marijuana possession offense is committed, which can happen at any point in the academic year, students must secure off-campus housing. This not only puts a lot of pressure on students, but some are unable to afford alternative housing (as dorm fees are not refunded) and are forced to withdraw from the university. Being caught with the smallest trace of marijuana - for example, traces of resin on a pipe - results in the implementation of these obstacles that are incredibly disproportionate to the crime committed.At the same time, residents who commit underage alcohol possession offenses are given sanctions on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances of the incident. They are put on housing probation but are not evicted except in the presence of unusual circumstances.This proposal does not aim to equalize alcohol and marijuana or to eliminate punishments for drug offenses in dorms. It simply recognizes that it is only necessary to evict students who present a real risk to the physical safety of other residents. (How many times have you encountered a half-baked belligerent?) We cannot and would not propose to legalize marijuana in the dorms, but the RHA can vote to hold students wholly responsible for their illegal actions in a way that does not affect the rest of their academic careers.Many of the nation's leading academic institutions have adopted drug policies that treat students with compassion instead of immediately casting them out as unworthy criminals. Changing the Residence Hall Rules is not only legal and doable, but it would reflect positively on the university's public image as an institution that treats students like the adults that they are.Even those who would love to support this proposal find it outlandish simply because it appears to be soft on marijuana (as opposed to less ridiculously harsh on students). Frankly, change is not an outlandish or futile effort at all. Honest! It's all laid out in a sensible proposal, and all we need are some "yeas." If you live on the campus and the idea of moving first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana to a B-level violation appeals to you, please let your RHA senator know of your support so he or she may vote accordingly Feb. 27.For more information about university drug policy reform or how to contact your senator, check out: http://www.ssdpterps.netRebecca Ogle is a freshman English major. She can be reached at:  answer42 umd.eduSource: Diamondback, The (U of MD Edu)Author: Rebecca OglePublished: February 20, 2007Copyright: 2007 DiamondbackContact: opinion dbk.umd.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 20, 2007 at 10:59:16 PT
Good Luck to you in Texas. I wish you the very best! Please keep us informed.
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Comment #1 posted by Taylor121 on February 20, 2007 at 10:40:47 PT
Texas Medical Marijuana Lobby Day Tomorrow
Schedule for Texas Medical Marijuana Lobby Day
Wednesday, February 21st, 20079:30 am – Arrive at the Robert E. Johnson Conference Center, 1501 N. Congress. We will be in the central and south rooms and breakfast will be provided. Register and receive your lobbying packets and names of the people who will be in your lobbying group, including who will be spokesperson and who will act as a Capitol guide.10:00 am – Overview of legislative process, discussion of the bill, visit from legislative staffer, explanation of handouts, office visit role play and breaking into small lobbying groups.11:30 am – Head to Capitol steps on the south side for press conference and rally.Noon – Press conference with bill author/authors.1:00 pm – Lunch on Capitol lawn (if it is raining we will head back to the conference    center).2 – 4:30 pm – Break into groups and lobby state legislators.4:45 pm – Head back to the conference center to turn in legislative visit logs and then head home.Things to bring / wear·  Comfortable shoes
·  Business suit or business casual attire
·  An umbrella
·  A water bottle
·  Sunscreen and/or a hat
·  A good attitude!
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