Saturday, March 04, 2006

UT students favor weaker pot rules

Nonbinding measure to balance marijuana, alcohol penalties passes

08:21 PM CST on Thursday, March 2, 2006

By KAREN BROOKS / Staff Writer

AUSTIN – Students at the University of Texas voted overwhelmingly this week to ask school officials to ease punishments for marijuana use and make them equal to alcohol violations, opening a dialogue on the Austin campus that is happening at universities across the country.

The referendum won the support of 64 percent of the 7,500 students who voted in annual student government elections.

Campus officials have said they're willing to consider opening discussion with the student body if the nonbinding measure passed.

"We, the students, have spoken," said Judie Niskala, a graduate student who coordinated the campaign with a new state chapter of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, a Colorado-based group pushing similar measures on other campuses. "Because marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, this safety issue should be the university's primary concern."

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