UT Gov't to Vote on Downplaying Pot Possession
Vote would ask UTPD to enforce citation law on campus
By Jordan Smith,
5:09PM, Tue. Mar. 26, 2013
UPDATE: Love's resolution went down in flames last night, with just nine votes in favor and with several removing their names as co-sponsors (apparently a resolution asking UTPD to ensure it is implementing campus wide an existing state law was somehow controversial). Love says he'll give it another shot in a few weeks.
EARLIER: To be frank, Robert Love thinks the War on Drugs has been a failure. That's what motivated the UT LBJ School grad student to pen a resolution for the UT Student Government that he says would equalize marijuana law enforcement campus wide.
"Frankly, I'm sick of the War on Drugs," he said. Love's disgust with the 40-plus years of the WoD is what prompted him earlier this month to draft a resolution for the UT SG, of which he is a member, proposing that marijuana-law enforcement be deemed the lowest law enforcement priority on campus. The vote on that measure, held last week, didn't go so well: "I got destroyed," he said. But he asked the members who roundly trounced his proposal if they would help him to craft a new, better resolution; the answer was yes, and tonight Love is hoping to sway at least half of the 40-member SG to vote in favor of a new and improved measure that would direct the UT Police Department to enforce uniformly, campus wide, the state's law that allows police to write a citation instead of make an arrest for incidences of minor pot possession. "Everything we're asking them to do is within the law," Love said.
Indeed, the resolution notes that in 2012 there were 55 assaults on campus, two armed robberies, and three forced rapes and that nearly 35% of the assaults went unsolved, as did 50% and 100% of the armed robberies and rapes, respectively, while there were 58 controlled substance abuse cases in 2012. The resolution resolves that issuing a citation for minor marijuana possession would help to "promote safety and effective use of police resources on campus" by focusing UTPD energies on addressing violent crime on campus. UTPD is a great police agency – perhaps the best campus cop shop in the country, Love posits – and he sees that the passage of the resolution could make UTPD a model for campus-level pot enforcement across the country. "They'll be setting an example," he said.
The resolution is up for a vote tonight at 7pm on the second floor of the Student Activities Center.