Focus: UGA’s tough drug stance toward student athletes

An avalanche of recent news stories on liberalized marijuana laws recently passed in some states and gaining traction in others underscores by contrast how seriously authorities in Georgia continue to view marijuana possession.

That is true even in instances of possession of small amounts of pot and without a person’s intent to sell or otherwise distribute marijuana to other parties.

The hard stance of law enforcement agencies throughout Georgia toward marijuana possession and related violations of state law is echoed by the recent comments and current policies emanating from the University of Georgia.

Officials at UGA have announced a hard-line drug policy aimed most notably at the school’s student athletes, one described as “among the toughest in the SEC.”

And they are far from being apologetic or defensive about it.

Calling it “the right thing,” UGA President Jere Morehead recently acknowledged the university’s comparatively tough exactions levied on violators and openly expressed a desire that other schools in the Southeastern Conference would follow suit by increasing penalties at their institutions.

That hasn’t yet happened, and previous efforts by former UGA President Michael Adams and school athletic director Greg McGarity “really didn’t gain any traction anywhere,” noted McGarity recently.

A number of Bulldog football players have been suspended for games owing to violations of the school’s drug policies.

School officials, most notably Morehead, say that they will keep pushing other schools in the conference to adjust their policies and put more bite into their drug-violation policies.

“It takes time for proposals and ideas to percolate,” says the new university chief.

Source: Online Athens, “New Georgia president on school’s stringent drug policy: ‘What we are doing is the right thing,'” Marc Wieszer, Aug. 28, 2013