(Denver Post file)

Disciplinary cases for marijuana at CU-Boulder drop dramatically

BOULDER — The number of students disciplined for marijuana and other drug violations at the University of Colorado was cut in half between 2012 and 2013, according to newly released crime statistics.

Christina Gonzales, dean of students, attributes the decline from 1,145 to 588 to a number of factors, including the Office of Student Conduct’s decision to relax enforcement of the university marijuana policy.

The Office of Student Conduct is a campus administrative office that enforces the university’s student code of conduct, while the CU-Boulder police department enforces local, state and federal laws on and near the campus.

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University policies still ban marijuana on campus, and many undergraduates aren’t yet 21, the age when use of recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado.

Gonzales said her office reshaped its response to marijuana use and possession on campus.

“It may start out with a conversation first,” she said. “We shifted philosophically how we were operating in the Office of Student Conduct to be more educational versus punitive.”

The number of drug arrests made by the CU Police Department has been dropping steadily since 2011, when officers made 442 arrests. That number declined to 371 arrests in 2012 and 300 arrests in 2013.

CUPD also made fewer alcohol-related arrests in 2013 with 511, down from 771 in 2012.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com