Update 3/27/13: Sorry cannabis-using students at the University of Texas, your student government still thinks you should be arrested for marijuana possession. The UT Student Government last night voted down a bill 9 to 13 that would have urged police to simply ticket marijuana offenders on campus instead of arresting them.
Wikipedia commons. The University of Texas.
While the bill wouldn't have actually changed anything and was merely a symbolic bill that would have only asked police to stop arresting students, it seems that the 13 cowards on UTSG still couldn't approve of it. If it had passed, it would have been the first of it's kind in the country.
Original post 3/26/13: Though you might associate the University of Texas more with beer, barbecue and fraternities than bud, there's been a thriving community of smokers, growers and glass artists in the pseudo-hippie haven that is Austin since the 1970s. It's the home of Willie Nelson, after all.
But despite the slightly more lenient attitude towards herb than the rest of Texas, students found with marijuana on campus are still subject to arrest and according to student leaders, it happens more than anyone but the police would like.
Tonight the UT Student Government is set to vote on a bill that would make marijuana among the lowest enforcement priorities for campus police. The bill would ask (not require) police to merely issue tickets for possession of up to four ounces found on students on school property.
"I want to make sure that they have the availability to spend those resources investigating violent crime, rather than forcing them to investigate marijuana crimes on campus," Robert Love, a graduate student and one a dozen authors of the bill, said to Austin's KVUE.
According to Love, if the bill passes it would be the first of it's kind on a college campus and would encourage police to go above and beyond what the current law is in Travis County, where the university is located. As it stands now, police have the option of arresting or simply ticketing someone in the county.
The school is so large, they have a police force of about 130 officers devoted strictly to the more than 50,000 graduate and undergraduate students on the roughly 420 acre campus in Austin. Last year, the police reported handling 58 controlled substance cases (in which marijuana would be included) compared to 221 alcohol-related incidents including sale to minors, 55 assaults and 466 cases of theft.
But as always, police in the town scoff at the idea of any reform. Police say that they are under no obligation to abide by the student bill if it passes, and hint that they'll probably just ignore it if it does.
"They're very welcome to go down to State Legislature and try for a state law change, and then that's what we'll enforce," said UT Police Chief Robert Dahlstrom to KVUE in Texas (sounding like quite the condescending asshole in the process). "But as peace officers of the state of Texas, we will follow the law."
Below, check out the report from KVUE.