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The University of Texas at Dallas, P.O. Box 830688, Richardson, Texas 75083-0688

News Release

News contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UTD, (972) 883-4431, [email protected]

UT Dallas Professor Wins Grant To Examine
Criminal Policies on Marijuana

Study Will Review Costs, Benefits of Alternative Policies

Paul Tracy

RICHARDSON, Texas (Jan. 12, 2004) - Dr. Paul E. Tracy, a professor of political economy and criminology at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), has received a $50,000 grant from the Washington, D.C.–based Marijuana Policy Project to provide an economic and policy analysis of the costs and benefits of alternative marijuana policies.

The study will examine such possible alternatives as diminishing the statutory severity of marijuana offenses by reducing felony charges to misdemeanors, reducing higher-level misdemeanors to lower-level misdemeanors and decriminalizing marijuana offenses altogether.

Tracy's study also will look into what happens to those arrested on marijuana charges and provide details about the percentage prosecuted and incarcerated as well as racial, economic and geographic disparities in enforcement. The study further will determine how many parole and probation violators are re-incarcerated for possessing marijuana or for testing positive for marijuana.

According to Tracy, Texas is an ideal venue to pursue this research because punishment for marijuana crimes in Texas is similar to other states where marijuana is criminalized.

“Federal and state data indicate that marijuana cultivation and trafficking are very active in Texas, and consequently, law enforcement agents also have been active in drug enforcement,” he said. “The results of this study ultimately could help other states to determine if they can save money, decrease harm to minor marijuana offenders and promote more efficient use of the criminal justice system by exploring other options.”

The Marijuana Policy Project is a not-for-profit organization that works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana – both from the consumption of marijuana and from the laws that are intended to prohibit its use.

About UTD
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls about 13,700 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's web site at www.utdallas.edu.

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August 03, 2013