Even with legalization in Vermont looming around the corner, Castleton University will still prohibit cannabis use on campus, officials say.
The proposed bill being considered will allow persons 21 and older the legal right to have half an ounce of marijuana on them. The law, if approved, will not take effect until the beginning of 2018.
The goal of the effort is in part to eliminate the black market surrounding the use of marijuana, state officials say. But they also say legalization could lead to great tax revenues, with the agreed-upon 25 percent tax. Revenues are already pouring in to states like Colorado and Washington where marijuana has been legalized.
But even though it will be legal on the state level, the use of the plant will still be illegal on the federal level.
Because Castleton is a federally funded state school, it will not be permitted until it is legal nationwide, campus Public Safety officials say.
“Even If it changes in Vermont, it wouldn’t change here on campus,” said Keith Molinari, director of Public Safety. “I don’t think it poses any new challenges for us.”
According to Fred Baily, a Western State Colorado University student, if you get caught with pot on campus there, they will still treat it like an illegal possession. Using the plant off campus is perfectly fine, but if you bring it onto the premises it is treated as it always been.
Currently here at Castleton, it is treated just like an underage drinking offense. The person caught with the marijuana will be put into the disciplinary process. The disciplinary process is conducted by the Residence Life staff.
In the disciplinary process, there are a series of offense consequences. The first offense may result in restitution hours, attending a drug education program or monetary sanctions, according to the Castleton University student handbook. Second and third offences get more and more severe including financial aid penalties.
After asking Castleton students about their opinions on marijuana, 18 of 20 said that it should be legalized. The most cited reason is they believe it is no more harmful than alcohol is. None of those interviewed said legalization would affect where they choose to live, be it on or off campus.
“I don’t think it should change someone’s opinion on housing because if they wanted to smoke, they could just go off of campus,” student Jake Moulton said.