Students’ High Hopes for Marijuana On Campus May Go Up in Smoke

“Wittenberg recognizes drug/alcohol dependency as an illness and a major health problem. The university also recognizes drug abuse as a potential health, safety, and security problem.”
~ Section IV, “The Wittenberg Student Handbook”
Illegal marijuana usage on campus has always been a hot topic for discussion, and with the potential legalization on the ballot for November elections, drug-related incidents have been on some students’ minds.
According to Wittenberg Police Lieutenant Mark Lopez, there were 68 incidents during 2014 that were “drug-related.” And this semester, there have been 13 incidents thus far, as of the date of publication.
Junior Lane Schlicher, an RA for New Residence Hall, explained what process he has to pursue in dealing with a person under the influence or caught in possession of the illegal substances.
“As an RA, I just write an incident report outlining certain details that I witnessed leading up to the point when the police arrive on the scene,” Schlicher said. “The protocol is to call the Wittenberg Police Division…what happens to the student at that point is left up to the university’s discretion. Sanctions may be set in place, or there may even be legal charges made.”
Lopez explained the course of action Wittenberg Police takes when dealing with these incidents.
“When a student is found with marijuana, the marijuana will be photographed, seized and submitted into the Wittenberg University Police Division property room,” he said. “The student will be referred to Student Development for possible disciplinary actions. In addition, the student may be cited criminally, and/or depending on the seriousness of the offense criminally arrested and incarcerated.”
Lopez went on to say that potential disciplinary consequences can result in a minor misdemeanor, which can result in a maximum fine of $150 and/or a five year suspension on one’s Ohio driver’s license.
With the legalization of marijuana on the ballot in the coming elections, Lopez said that the university’s stance on allowing the drug on campus is still undetermined.
“The university is in the preliminary stages of discussing how the legalization of marijuana in the state of Ohio would change practices on campus, if at all,” Lopez said. “As a private institution, the university reserves the right to prohibit the use of marijuana on campus as it could alcohol and tobacco. As of now, marijuana is illegal, and the university is committed to holding students accountable to the law. Should the law change, Wittenberg will communicate with the campus community expectations regarding the use or prohibition of marijuana on campus.”

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