Tuesday night’s student government meeting at the University of Texas at Austin was ablaze with debate about a resolution endorsing a change in the school’s marijuana possession policy.
In the end, though, the resolution was voted down, reports Your News Now of Austin. Had the resolution passed, the UT student government would have officially urged university police to write citations instead of making arrests whenever people are caught with less than four ounces of pot.
According to PriceOfWeed.com, a crowd-sourced global price index for marijuana, the street value of four ounces of high-quality ganga is close to $1400. Four ounces of low-grade stuff can be had for under $500.
Student government member Robert Love, one of 12 co-authors of the failed resolution and a graduate student in the school’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, explained that the resolution would lend student government support to an existing “cite and release” program.
County law gives officers the option of either citing or arresting suspects accused of certain minor crimes — such as possession of smallish amounts of marijuana.
Love claimed that UT police officers arrest approximately 75 percent of all suspects in marijuana cases. He worries that racial profiling could result from giving officers such discretion, according to local ABC affiliate KVUE.
The graduate student argued that the end result of the criminal process will be the same.
“They’re still going to be charged with two ounces, four ounces, whatever you have, the charges are going to be the same, but were simply going to save time and money on the front end,” Love said, according to YNN.
“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,” Love told KVUE.
In 2012, says YNN, the school’s police department processed 55 marijuana-related incidents. The ratio of arrests to written citations was roughly equal for the year.
Robert Dahlstrom with The University of Texas police chief, said that the student government’s resolution would have no practical effect had it passed.
“If they go down to the state legislature and they get things changed there, that is the laws that we enforce,” Dahlstrom told YNN.
“I would never ask an officer to write a citation to somebody who cannot be identified, who doesn’t have good ID, who is intoxicated, who’s being handled for another crime, it just doesn’t make sense,” Dahlstrom added.