North Texas Daily

Marijuana Explainer: caught on campus

Marijuana Explainer: caught on campus

Marijuana Explainer: caught on campus
March 27
00:53 2014

Javier Navarro // Staff Writer

Marijuana related cases are something UNT police deal with on a regular basis.

The most common charge is possession, Corporal John DeLong said. The Denton police department faces similar issues.

DeLong also said UNT police dealt with 67 marijuana related cases last year. He also said all the cases do not necessarily represent the number of marijuana-related arrests the campus police department make.

There are multiple factors and consequences that come into play when someone is arrested for marijuana related charges, which include possession, selling and having drug paraphernalia on site. Even if someone is caught with possession, there are different consequences that depend on the weight of marijuana that person has.

Possession of marijuana is one of the more common charges and can lead to a class-B misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the weight, he said.

“The most common weight that we see here is under a quarter ounce,” DeLong said. “That’s your class-B offense, which will lead to an automatic arrest and you can be in jail anywhere from six months to two years and can be fined anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000.”

UNT students who are caught by campus police for marijuana can even lead to severe punishment by the university.

“If students are arrested for marijuana, then they can get referred to the dean of students who will determine their fate,” DeLong said. “They could even be suspended.”

Selling marijuana can lead to a class A misdemeanor or a felony, which also depends on how much is being sold, DeLong said. The jail time ranges from two to 20 years.

If UNT police arrests students, they can go to the city or county jail, depending on how severe the charges are. If students are charged with a class B, they are sent to county jail, while a class C—a smaller charge—will lead them to the city jail.

“That being said, we handle all of our own cases and arrests,” DeLong said. “The only thing we don’t have is a jail here. We have an agreement with the city and the county to use their jail for our arrests.

The effects of illegal and legal

Marijuana can have different effects on the body. Rehabilitative studies professor James Quinn said the most common symptoms include short-term memory loss, dropping blood pressure and hunger. Quinn said that marijuana can stimulate some responses, which is why people get the “munchies” when they are under the influence.

“It suppresses nausea and stimulates appetite,” Quinn said. “The appetite stimulation is going to be more for comfort food. You’re not going to be munching on broccoli.”

There are also different ways people can consume marijuana. Quinn said the research is mixed when determining which method is considered the “healthier” way to consume, but did say eating it is the best “delivery system.” When someone is under the influence, the “high” lasts about four to six hours, on average, according to Quinn.

“But I wouldn’t drive until after eight hours,” Quinn said, as he let out a chuckle.

For 20 years, Quinn has looked into the effects of medical marijuana and how it compares to recreational marijuana. He said there’s a great deal of anecdotal evidence that shows that medical marijuana can slow progression and relieves symptoms of diseases like multiple scoliosis.

“It doesn’t cure anything, but it can slow down the progress the disease and can make things like chemotherapy more tolerable,” Quinn said.

He also found that recreational marijuana—which is the type usually found in the streets—has higher level of THC compared to medical marijuana. With the higher level of THC, the more “high” an individual can get, Quinn said.

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Graphics by: Nicole Arnold / Visuals Editor 

Feature photo: Lisa Marie, of Oakland, California, takes part in a 420 Day rally in front of the Federal Building in downtown Oakland on Friday, April 20, 2012. Marchers called for wider availability of marijuana for medical purposes in the face of a recent crackdown by federal officials in the city. Photo courtesy of Jane Tyska, Oakland Tribune, MCT 

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