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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Students march in favor of marijuana reform

By Brady Stone

Aggies organized with Students for Sensible Drug Policies marched from Sbisa Dining Hall to Rudder Plaza to express support for comprehensive marijuana reform.

Texas A&M students gathered on campus to march in protest against the criminalization of marijuana and for comprehensive marijuana reform.
Led by Students for Sensible Drug Policies, the march began at Sbisa Dining Hall on April 20, the unofficial holiday for the use of marijuana. The march concluded in Rudder Plaza, where passersby were encouraged to sign a petition in favor of the legalization of marijuana.
President of Students for Sensible Drug Policies and industrial distribution senior Kilvain Phillip said the idea for the march was to create a memorable first event, since the organization started not long ago.
“We thought the biggest way to make a smash for our first event was 4/20,” Phillip said. “We’re a drug policy reform organization, and one of the most harmful drug policies right now, especially in Texas, is cannabis.”
Phillip added that the members of the organization see the criminalization of marijuana as a human rights issue, and said people should have the knowledge and choice to use the drug.
“People are going to do it regardless [of] whether it’s legal or not,” Phillip said. “Just giving the people the information, first and foremost, before they are in the situation so they have the right to say yes or no, or just know what the possibilities can [be].”
Phillip said students have unjustly suffered some consequences for the use or possession of marijuana, and it should be a legal choice for one to use.
“What I’ve been hearing leading up to this is about people in dorms getting kicked out just because [of] possession or anything like that,” Phillip said. “People shouldn’t lose every opportunity they have just because of a simple drug charge, especially so early in life.”
One of the main goals of the organization is to keep people safe, Phillip said. He added that the group supports bills that provide free drug testing kits to allow for harm prevention. Students for Sensible Drug Policies has also worked with A&M’s Opioid Task Force.
Horticulture post baccalaureate undergraduate and secretary for the organization David Painter said a large concern is the punishment for drug possession charges.
“Personally, I’ve always been passionate about cannabis reform,” Painter said. “I think way too many people go to jail, way too many people have way too many fines for it. I just think it’s unnecessary.”
Painter said funding should be allocated away from criminalizing marijuana offenses and toward more research on cannabis. This would provide people with the necessary knowledge about using marijuana and its effects, so they can make up their mind about using the drug.
“I think what we need, as the university has shown us with our hemp program, is we need research,” Painter said. “That’s what we need. We don’t need millions of dollars thrown into putting Black people in jail. What we need is research, and what we need is a good medical cannabis regulation here in Texas.”
The organization neither condones nor condemns the use of marijuana, Painter said, but it can be useful to those with chronic medical issues.
“We support the use of it, especially if you have medical problems and other needs,” Painter said. “There are thousands of people, I mean, did you know that people with PTSD aren’t even qualified for medical cannabis right now? That’s insane, and that should not be a thing.”
Telecommunication junior and organization member Stormee Smoot agrees the charges should be lessened for possession. She said the stigma surrounding marijuana is too great, especially compared to alcohol, which harms more people than marijuana and is commonly used by college students.
“Just like with alcohol, drink responsibly. Smoke responsibly,” Smoot said.

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