The East Texan

Marijuana use goes up with higher enrollment

Sam Stevens, Writer

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In September, there were 13 drug related arrests made by the University Police Department at Texas A&M University-Commerce. All of these arrests were labeled as either possession of Marijuana, or possession of drug paraphernalia.

While 13 arrests may seem to be a high amount in just one month, Lt. Jason Bone of UPD is not too concerned.

“We may be experiencing a higher volume of arrests for it, but I think it correlates to the amount of students we have on campus this year,” Lt. Bone said. “We are seeing a growing popularity of marijuana in society, but the increase in volume of arrests is mainly due to the greater amount of students living on campus. You have more students than ever before, so it makes sense to see more arrests.”

While about half of the drug related arrests were for actual possession of marijuana, the rest were for simply possession of drug paraphernalia. However, the term “drug paraphernalia” is not as simple as what one might think.

“Most people think of paraphernalia as pipes, bongs, and rolling papers, but paraphernalia can even be remnants, or an unusable amount of marijuana,” Bone said.

Bone explained that often times, officers will find only what marijuana is left over, or what pieces students failed to dispose of before being searched. Since that small of an amount is not usable in most cases, it is simply described as paraphernalia.

Lt. Bone is confident that there are no serious trends regarding the popularity and use of the drug, although he does recognize that it is becoming much more common and accepted. Like nicotine or alcohol, many do not consider marijuana to be a “hard drug,” yet the substance has been illegal for years, until very recently.

The legality of the drug has been under constant discussion since its criminalization, with a few states recently legalizing possession and use of it. Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska have all fully legalized the medical and recreational use of marijuana, making it a much more typical and widespread substance than ever before.

The side effects of marijuana are debated frequently, with many proponents claiming that it is not addicting, and many opponents stating just the opposite. While the research into the long term effects of marijuana are not as detailed as tobacco, we are seeing more done now, since it is being legalized around the nation.

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Marijuana use goes up with higher enrollment