Pubdate: Wed, 12 Feb 2014
Source: Shorthorn, The  (TX Edu Arlington)
Copyright: 2014 The Shorthorn.
Author: Rafael Sears


UTA student arrests in connection with marijuana possession have
doubled since the fall semester, according to UTA Police.

Last semester, eight nonstudents and two students were arrested in
connection with marijuana possession. This semester, five nonstudents
and five students have been arrested in connection with possession,
according to UTA crime logs.

"I can't necessarily say there is an increase in use, but we are
seeing an increase in enforcement, an increase in coming into contact
with violators and of course we're going to take action against those
violators," assistant police chief Rick Gomez said.

Marijuana has always been popular among college students, Gomez said.
The fact that police are making more marijuana-related arrests doesn't
necessarily equate to an increase in marijuana use, Gomez said, but he
does think the passage of these laws making marijuana legal in some
states may have increased its overall popularity.

On Jan. 1, Colorado became the first state in the nation to begin
allowing the sale of recreational marijuana to anyone 21 or older at
recreational pot stores. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

"The possession or use of marijuana is still a violation in the state
of Texas," Gomez said. "It doesn't matter where you bought it."

Typically, UTA Police sees less than 2 ounces of marijuana, which is a
class B misdemeanor with a $2,000 fine and/or 180 days in jail, Gomez
said. Anything more than 2 ounces is a class A misdemeanor with a fine
up to $4,000 and up to a year in jail, he said.

UTA Police refers every student arrested in connection with marijuana
possession to the Student Conduct Office, Gomez said For the month of
January, 14 of the 127 referrals received by the Office of Community
Standards were related to marijuana possession or paraphernalia,
according to a statement from Heather Snow, assistant vice president
of Student Affairs.

In most circumstances, the conduct process remains the same despite if
a student is placed under arrest or issued a citation, according to
the statement.

Bradley Borougerdi, a lecturer and history doctoral student, is
focused on decriminalizing marijuana rather than legalization, and
believes the changes in Colorado are a step in the right direction.
Borougerdi recently published an article based on his research of the
hemp plant, according to a previous Shorthorn article.

"If it gets people out of prison for doing things, and ruining their
lives for these choices that they make, then I'm fine with that,"
Borougerdi said.

Borougerdi agrees with the interview President Barack Obama did with
the New Yorker where Obama said marijuana is no more dangerous to
individuals' health than alcohol.

"We clearly know today that the reefer madness stuff of people
consuming marijuana and going off and killing people and raping people
is all absurd," Borougerdi said. "It doesn't have any scientific basis
for our culture today."

Although Borougerdi said he doesn't think marijuana is completely
harmless, he doesn't think there are necessarily good or bad drugs,
and that a completely drug-free society is not possible.

"Drugs have been a part of humanity forever," Borougerdi said. "There
seems to be a general tendency amongst humans to want to alter their
state of consciousness."
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