Weeded out

Despite pleas from NORML’s current president and former vice president, resolution BRHR-11-03 “More Sensible Cannabis Policies,” was tabled indefinitely on Feb. 25 at the last Boca House of Representatives meeting.

The vote was 12 to eight.

With this outcome, the legislation will float in limbo until modified and reintroduced to the House.

“We don’t need to have a system that penalizes students as harsh as now,” said NORML President David Aarons during the meeting, whose student organization opposes marijuana prohibition. “We need to be at the standard of other states.”

During his speech to try to convince representatives to pass the resolution, Aarons presented 500 petitions signed by FAU students and professors in favor of a change in the current on-campus penalization system.

NORML’s former vice president also named universities that have passed similar legislation.

But the resolution also faced strong opposition from representatives and from other student organizations.

“Violent criminals and non-violent criminals should be penalized the same way,” said Jon Taylor, president of FAU’s Republican club, referring to people found in possession of marijuana. “They are all criminals.”

The resolution called for students caught with one ounce or less of marijuana on campus to be reprimanded in the same way as a student found drinking alcohol.

Currently, a student smoking marijuana inside the dorms could face expulsion while those illegally drinking alcohol will get two more chances to redeem themselves.

According to House Speaker Boris Bastidas, the legislation could be reintroduced once students get to vote on the issue, something which was scheduled to happen during these Spring elections but didn’t happen because SG wasn’t following the statutes on polling procedures.

As of now, there’s no set date for the students to be polled on the matter.

15 Responses to “Weeded out”

  1. Jeffrey Arnold Says:

    I believe that the law is the law and special considerations are wrong. Should we also make exceptions to other illegal substances on campus? The fact remains that under federal law marijuana is a schedule 1 drug with no medicinal purpose. On the other hand alcohol is legal with an age restriction only and is widely distributed legally. It is very simple federal law is marijuana = illegal, alcohol = legal. This also transfters down to the state or an arm of the state(FAU) has the authority to regulate the distribution and sale of alcohol, as well as the consequences. Until you change the law there can be no special considerations in it’s application.

  2. David Aarons Says:

    Are you aware that the same government who puts marijuana as a schedule 1 substance with no medical use, has taken out a medical patent on marijuana? http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/257008 . And that same government grows marijuana on the University of Mississippi and gives that marijuana out to people like Irv Rosenfeld (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle-old/363/irv.shtml)? Also, FAU has the ability to have a more sensible drug policy. The cops have to do what the cops have to do, but FAU does not have to kick students out of the dorms. According to the Higher Education Act FAU must have a drug policy, but it is up to FAU what penalties that drug policy entails.

  3. Jon Taylor Says:

    The resolution asked the school to ignore a felony drug trafficking charge, thus allowing convicted felons, stripped of gun ownership and federal financial aid, ineligible for any job prohibiting felony convictions, to live among law abiding students who have no such burdens.

    I, for one, do not wish to associate with felons, let alone live with one.

  4. David Aarons Says:

    And that error will be fixed. I discussed with members of the house lowering it from one ounce to 20 grams or less, which is a misdemeanor in Florida, just like underage drinking. However, it did not say that students would not be subject to the state or federal law. Again, the cops have to do their job, but the school does not have to impose such strict sanctions. The resolution would not protect drug traffickers from getting kicked out of housing.

  5. Jon Taylor Says:

    David, I commend your efforts to fix a bill that went way too far, but is the bill materially different when you are only reducing the amount permissible by a little over 8 grams?

  6. Jeffrey Arnold Says:

    Is there a true difference in the bills considering no matter how you look at it marijuana is cometely illegal in Florida there is no medicinal usage and a facility of higher learning should not condone in the form of lax punishment structures the usage of illegal substances.

  7. David Aarons Says:

    Is the resolution really different? No. At this point it boils down to my opinion and your opinion. Yes, marijuana is illegal for every U.S. citizen regardless of age, unless you’re one of the few people who the U.S. actually grows it for. However, as we’ve seen in recent years, the attitudes toward this substance are changing. It’s become available as medicine in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and it’s been decriminalized in 13 states. Even in our own state citizens of Miami Beach are attempting to decriminalize that specific area. Laws are changeable. And there is no law stating that FAU must have such a strict, draconian drug policy. 11 colleges and universities currently use the model we are suggesting, and it has not negatively impacted their students academics or lives. We know prohibition does not work, we’ve tried it before. We know that prohibition destroys people’s lives and futures. The state and federal laws should be changed to make marijuana legal. That is my opinion. But these changes don’t occur overnight and they usually start on a smaller scale, like at a university. There comes a point where we must look at our state of affairs and think, “Is it right to deny over 200,000 students financial aid because of drug convictions?” No. If you want to get students to not use drugs, don’t force them out of college into a minimum wage paying job, or into jail (where, by the way, there is still access to drugs). If you care about students you wouldn’t ruin their futures. While this proposal is strictly about FAU and its students, it is about the bigger picture of drug policy reform too. Any conversation about drug policy reform on a small scale inevitably returns to the bigger picture. Our drug laws are racist (only 13% of drug users are African American, yet they account for 67% of those sentenced to jail for drug offenses), immoral (more Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year than for all violent crimes combined), and a waste of tax dollars (each year the U.S. spends $350 billion on the war on drugs, with only 2% of that spent on treatment). Everybody from Milton Friedman, to Grover Norquist, to George Schultz, to William Buckley have come out in some way against the drug war. The drug war is just bloated government, a danger to homeland security, an infringement upon privacy and personal freedom, and a failure. And if someone truly has a drug problem they belong in a doctor’s office not a jail cell.

  8. Concerned Student Says:

    I don’t want to live among potheads either. A slap on the wrist is, in reality, the same as doing nothing at all. Please don’t let FAU be the Eternal 420 school. We’re trying to dig ourselves out of a poor reputation, not go deeper into that hole.

  9. David Aarons Says:

    Well currently you live among fairly intoxicated students, I’m not talking about marijuana but about alcohol. In 2008 the number of students referred for disciplinary action when caught with alcohol was 120, that number went up by over 100% in 2009 to 271. And let’s take into account that marijuana has resulted in no overdose deaths, sexual assaults, domestic violence, or violent crimes while alcohol has. I would not be worried about the people using marijuana, I’d be worried about the people drinking. And I have never heard anyone call FSU a “420 school,” yet they have implemented what we are proposing. This proposal would align us with other major universities who did this, and they are anything but 420 schools. I don’t see this proposal putting us “deeper into that hole” rather I see it digging us out and putting us on the map as a progressive institution.

  10. Jeffrey Arnold Says:

    A university campus is an area of higher learning where any and all activities which would subjugate that purpose should not be condoned. When it comes to extracurriculars such as sports and clubs, these organizations promote fraternity and exchange of ideas(even during social gatherings). When it comes to alcohol and marijuana I treat both users in similar contempt both are vices and both are opposed to the persuit of knowledge. Alchoal however being legal and widely distributed is a situational temptation that in the course of ones life will find it’s way toward one. As such it is safer for the lessons of alchoal to be learned in the collegiate atmosphere. Marijuana is illegal federally as I have said, the consequences of a marijuana drug conviction in many states is more than just getting kicked out of their housing. This is preparation for the real world and in the real world marijuana is not something you get a second chance with.

  11. David Aarons Says:

    But it is something you should get a second chance with. Better yet, it’s something that shouldn’t even be persecuted. Maybe it isn’t that way now, but if we don’t start to change that then no progress will be made. This is preparation for the real world, if you don’t learn to stand up to injustice now when and where will you learn? Just look at the first page of the Student Code of Conduct, “Students are expected to respect and obey all regulations and policies of the University and all local, state and federal laws. If regulations, policies or laws are considered to be unfair or improper, it is expected that students will use appropriate, established, and lawful procedures to effect change.” Yes marijuana possession is against the law, it was also against the law to vote as a woman. If you were alive during such a time would you have agreed with that law, or would you have stood up and said this is wrong? Like you you said this is preparation for the real world. We can change university law and we can can, and will, change federal law.

  12. Jeffrey Arnold Says:

    You still have not addressed the core issue at hand, the fact that it remains a university campus open to the persuit of higher learning. College students SHOULD spend more time studying than drinking or smoking and it is the universities prerogative to create an environment for the majority of students to become enlightened individuals, NOT drunkards and dopeheads.

  13. David Aarons Says:

    And by kicking them out of housing they are doing just that. Endangering the learning environment and putting students into a situation where they will use more drugs. The university should to be open to higher learning, not kicking out students who made a mistake. The school is making drunkards and dopeheads out of students. This proposal isn’t saying that the school believes that students should forgo studying to do drugs. It’s stating students should not be punished more severely than they would be for alcohol seeing as marijuana is less dangerous, it’s saying students shouldn’t be removed from the learning environment and put into minimum wage jobs and have their futures destroyed, and it’s saying that students make mistakes and are students, they are learning, let’s give them another chance.

  14. House of Representative Says:

    It’s funny how you druggies keep saying that the use of marijuana has never killed anyone or causes any drug-related deaths. Are you forgetting that marijuana IS A GATEWAY DRUG? Studies show that almost 100% of people who are meth addicts, cocaine addicts, etc started with marijuana. Don’t be ignorant and short-minded– look at the long-term and indirect effects of the marijuana drug.

  15. David Aarons Says:

    We are not “druggies”. If a member of Lambda United was speaking before you, would you call them fag? I don’t think so. We take offense to “druggie”. We are civil rights activists. We are aligned with the women’s movement, lgbtqa groups, african american activists, and anyone fighting for civil rights. Do NOT stereotype us. Being in NORML/SSDP does not mean you use drugs either. We neither condone, nor condemn drug use. It’s everybody’s personal choice. Furthermore, we are the most dedicated group on campus; again do not stereotype us. And if you think marijuana is a gateway drug let’s look at the evidence:
    “In 2002, the English government published research on the initiation of drug use and criminal offending by young people in Britain. According to the study, “After applying these methods, there is very little remaining evidence of any causal gateway effect. For example, even if soft/medium drugs (cannabis, amphetamines, LSD, magic mushrooms, amyl nitrite) could somehow be abolished completely, the true causal link with hard drugs (crack, heroin, methadone) is found to be very small. For the sort of reduction in soft drug use that might be achievable in practice, the predicted causal effect on the demand for hard drugs would be negligible. Although there is stronger evidence of a gateway between soft drugs and ecstasy/cocaine, it remains small for practical purposes. My interpretation of the results of this study is that true gateway effects are probably very small and that the association between soft and hard drugs found in survey data is largely the result of our inability to observe all the personal characteristics underlying individual drug use. From this viewpoint, the decision to reclassify cannabis seems unlikely to have damaging future consequences.” Source: Pudney, Stephen, “Home Office Research Study 253: The road to ruin? Sequences of initiation into drug use and offending by young people in Britain” (London, England: Home Office Research, Development, and Statistics Directorate, December 2002), p. vi. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/hors253.pdf .
    “Analysis of the demographic and social characteristics of a large sample of applicants seeking approval to use marijuana medically in California supports an interpretation of long term non problematic use by many who had first tried it as adolescents, and then either continued to use it or later resumed its use as adults. In general, they have used it at modest levels and in consistent patterns which anecdotally-often assisted their educational achievement, employment performance, and establishment of a more stable life-style. These data suggest that rather than acting as a gateway to other drugs, (which many had also tried), cannabis has been exerting a beneficial influence on most.” Source: Thomas J O’Connell and Ché B Bou-Matar, “Long term marijuana users seeking medical cannabis in California (2001–2007): demographics, social characteristics, patterns of cannabis and other drug use of 4117 applicants,” Harm Reduction Journal,(November 2007). http://www.harmreductionjournal.com/content/pdf/1477-7517-4-16.pdf .
    “According to CASA (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse), there is no proof that a causal relationship exists between cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. Basic scientific and clinical research establishing causality does not exist.” Source: Merrill, J.C. & Fox, K.S., Cigarettes, Alcohol, Marijuana: Gateways to Illicit Drug Use, Introduction (New York, NY: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, October 1994).
    “The gateway hypothesis holds that abusable drugs occupy distinct ranks in a hierarchy as well as definite positions in a temporal sequence. Accordingly, substance use is theorized to progress through a sequence of stages, beginning with legal, socially acceptable compounds that are low in the hierarchy, followed by use of illegal ‘soft’ and later ‘hard’ drugs ranked higher in the hierarchy. One of the main findings of this study is that there is a high rate of nonconformance with this temporal order. In a neighborhood where there is high drug availability, youths who have low parental supervision are likely to regularly consume marijuana before alcohol and/or tobacco. Consumption of marijuana prior to use of licit drugs thus appears to be related to contextual factors rather than to any unique characteristics of the individual. Moreover, this reverse pattern is not rare; it was observed in over 20% of our sample.” Source: Tarter, Ralph E., PhD, Vanyukov, Michael, PhD, Kirisci, Levent, PhD, Reynolds, Maureen, PhD, Clark, Duncan B., MD, PhD, “Predictors of Marijuana Use in Adolescents Before and After Licit Drug Use: Examination of the Gateway Hypothesis,” American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 12, December 2006, p. 2138. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/reprint/163/12/2134.pdf .
    “Most people who smoke marijuana smoke it only occasionally. A small minority of Americans – less than 1 percent – smoke marijuana on a daily basis. An even smaller minority develop a dependence on marijuana. Some people who smoke marijuana heavily and frequently stop without difficulty. Others seek help from drug treatment professionals. Marijuana does not cause physical dependence. If people experience withdrawal symptoms at all, they are remarkably mild.” Sources: United States. Dept. of Health and Human Services. DASIS Report Series, Differences in Marijuana Admissions Based on Source of Referral. 2002. June 24 2005. Johnson, L.D., et al. “National Survey Results on Drug Use from the Monitoring the Future Study, 1975-1994, Volume II: College Students and Young Adults.” Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996. Kandel, D.B., et al. “Prevalence and demographic correlates of symptoms of dependence on cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and cocaine in the U.S. population.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence 44 (1997):11-29. Stephens, R.S., et al. “Adult marijuana users seeking treatment.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 61 (1993): 1100-1104.
    “Every objective study on marijuana – including the latest from the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine and the Rand Corporation – has debunked the theory that it somehow makes people use other drugs. In fact, they have typically found that marijuana’s illegal status is the actual “gateway,” in that it steers so many people who simply wish to use marijuana to a black market, in which other illegal products might be available. Needless to say, just about everyone who tries marijuana has previously tried using alcohol, yet very few people feel alcohol should be illegal as a result.”
    And now I’ll quote a somewhat less reputable source, the rapper Quasimoto: “Never hittin no coke, that’s no joke, and yo I don’t poke needles in my veins, goin for broke. Strictly haze for days, travellin higher”. Even culturally it is known by drug users not to use harder drugs. It’s embedded in the culture! The gateway theory is garbage. And if you want to look at the long term effects of drug use look at Gary Johnson, former New Mexico governor who used marijuana. His drug use seems to have had no negative effect on him. Our president, Barack Obama, admitted that he used marijuana. No long-term negative effect there.

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