The UT Police Department has encountered nine individual cases of marijuana possession since last Tuesday, a higher number than usual.
Police Lt. Greg Stephenson said although he has no statistics to confirm an increase in on-campus use of marijuana, he does think students tend to commit more substance abuse at the beginning of the fall semester. In Texas, marijuana usage is illegal, and the possession of two ounces or less is a Class B misdemeanor.
“The abuse of marijuana is a common problem among big campuses like UT,” Stephenson said. “We try to protect students from endangering their own health and mental being.”
Stephenson said UTPD now has the discretion to give out tickets instead of jailing offenders who are accused of using or possessing marijuana.
“It’s a better way to allocate our resources,” Stephenson said. “There is also diversity in how intoxicated the offender is. If the students look like they’re not endangering themselves, then we write a ticket instead of arresting them. This procedure leaves more jail space and is more time efficient.”
Susan Kirtz, interim manager of the Office of Health Promotion at University Health Services, said the number of marijuana arrests might not reflect the actual amount of usage.
“Just because UTPD’s crime log says they’re catching more students does not necessarily mean that there are actually more students using marijuana,” Kirtz said.
The Spring 2017 National College Health Assessment taken by UT students shows 59.4 percent have never used marijuana or related substances. In contrast,