The University of Connecticut Student Government passed a statement in support of Gov. Malloy’s Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, SB 1014, with a wide majority, 30-1 on Wednesday night. The Undergraduate Student Government represents over 17,000 undergraduates, and endorsing a marijuana reform bill is a rare move by a student government. UConn Students for Sensible Drug Policy President and Student Government senator Sam Tracy lead the effort with 15 other co-sponsors.
“It is amazing to see that the representatives from such a diverse number of backgrounds could come together to nearly unanimously endorse marijuana reform, something that was pretty controversial only a few years ago. I look forward to helping Gov. Malloy and the General Assembly in finally implenting this common-sense policy that will save our state millions in these tough budget times.” Said Sam Tracy UConn SSDP President and USG Senator.
The near-unanimous passage of this bill further illustrates a changing tone in the Connecticut public opinion on marijuana reform. With the recent courageous step by Gov. Malloy to make drug policy reform a high priority, CT is setting itself up for a major shift toward more responsible drug policies. The bill mentioned many poignant recent figures and studies concerning the issue, such as the fact that 444 students were arrested for drug possession on UConn’s campus in the past three years. They also noted that the state could save taxpayers over $30 million a year by making possession of small amounts of marijuana an infraction rather than a misdemeanor, according to the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis. Due to the Aid Elimination Provision of the Higher Education Act of 1965, a drug conviction can bar a student from receiving federal financial aid, while other crimes, even murder, do not. Over 2,000 CT students have been denied federal aid due to drug convictions.
The students plan to present this endorsement to the state legislature in the near future.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots network of students who educate their peers, parents, and policymakers about how the drug war has failed our generation and our society. SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive drug war policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.