End Excessive Fines for Marijuana Possession

End Excessive Fines for Marijuana Possession

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Jeffrey Clemmons started this petition to Property Manager Javier Ginestra and

Neighbor, 

On July 2nd, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley released a memorandum stating that, “APD will no longer cite or arrest individuals with sufficient identification for Class A or Class B misdemeanor “possession of marijuana” offenses, unless there is an immediate threat to a person’s safety or doing so as part of the investigation of a high priority, felony-level narcotics case or the investigation of a violent felony.” This effectively decriminalizes marijuana in the City of Austin, an initiative that began when the City Council approved Resolution 59 in January of this year, which stated, “enforcement of low-level marijuana laws is not a public safety priority of the citizens of Austin or the Austin City Council, especially compared to other public safety imperatives.” 

In light of these recent developments in the City of Austin, it is now time to begin undoing the damages done in the communities where we live. Per our lease, the “possession...[of] marijuana or drug paraphernalia” carries a “$500.00 fine...issued per occurrence.” Many residents have been fined this maximum, and more, for the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, dealing a serious blow to their personal finances and creating stigma around their use of the substance. This is unacceptable.  As individuals, we are capable of making our own decisions and working with our peers to come up with livable solutions. Moreover, marijuana consistently ranks as one of the least harmful substances used recreationally when compared to others such as tobacco, alcohol, and dangerously unregulated psychedelic derivatives like 25C-NBOMe. By continuing to stigmatize its use, the University Estates is contributing to a culture of pervasive ignorance and excessive criminalization that is now out of proportion with the laws of our city and the perceptions of the public.  

As rent-paying residents, we deserve more dignity than what management currently gives us through their use of excessive fines, invasive inspections, and lack of restorative justice practices that would lead to better outcomes for all residents, in the interest of preserving the image of their parent organization, the Preiss Company. We can no longer be held to the standard of a company based in North Carolina with no understanding of how we live on the ground. The Estates should no longer enforce its punitive policy of fines for the possession of marijuana and related paraphernalia. By doing this, we can make a change that better reflects our values and create a better environment for those who come after us. 

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