The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) at the University of Connecticut discussed endorsing the legalization of marijuana Wednesday night, as the state legislature considers a bill that would legalize the drug for recreational use.
Sen. Noah O’Connor (West) introduced a bill that sought USG’s support for the legalization of recreational use and the federal declassification of marijuana. The bill was postponed, meaning it did not go to a vote, but many senators supported O’Connor’s ideas and reasoning behind writing the bill.
O’Connor wrote the bill for the UConn community.
“Around four to five UConn Huskies get in this kind of trouble [for marijuana] per week. That’s almost one per day,” O’Connor said. “Is this where we want to spend our money?”
O’Connor said that while the marijuana-related arrests are prevalent at UConn, it’s an issue at both the state and national level as well.
O’Connor pointed out that the policies related to marijuana implemented by the federal government target citizens unfairly.
“We are arresting normal, everyday people like you and me… We are not arresting felons. We are not arresting criminals,” O’Connor said.
Some members of USG said O’Connor made strong points, but the bill needed some fine-tuning, which lead to the postponement of the bill.
USG president Dan Byrd said, while O’Connor mentioned students, there was no specific wording in the bill that tailored it to UConn.
“USG has a charge, and our charge is to serve the students of UConn and this bill, while I think it addresses a problem that students deal with, as Senator O’Connor mentioned, there’s no mention of… ‘University of Connecticut’ or ‘students,’” Byrd said.
O’Connor said he hopes to revise the bill and appreciated the discussion in Senate.
“I really want to make sure discussion is involved… to make sure that we have a bill that doesn’t have any holes in it,” O’Connor said.
Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.