Monday, February 18, 2008

Marijuana Use: Same Amount, More Offenses

By: Julie Hartz

Picture Source: The Daily Free Press

Lieutenant Dan Stewart with the Ohio University Police Department has read recent articles saying Marijuana use has increased here at Ohio University, and he says it’s just not true. “You’re seeing more attention brought to the marijuana after the alcohol policy came out from the university last year… I’m not really seeing a marked increase or the spike that I keep reading about.”

OUPD and Marijuana Paraphernalia

Recent Marijuana Statistics
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Marijuana use among college students actually went down between the years of 2005 and 2006. College students using Marijuana in the past month went down from 17.1% to 16.7%. College students using Marijuana in their lifetime went down from 49.1% to 46.9%. However, according to Ohio University’s Judiciaries website, Marijuana offenses have gone up over the past three years.

Who Uses
So who are the students using marijuana here on Ohio University’s campus? An Ohio University student who wishes to remain anonymous says the stereotypical “pot head” isn’t always who it seems. He is a recreational marijuana user about 3 to 5 times per week. “I pretty much classify myself as ridiculously organized, and over qualified with everything I do, and I generally am an over-achiever on everything that I’ve ever put forth to do in my life.”

OU Student describes himself and a friend who got caught for smoking Marijuana

Who Gets Caught
This student says a lot of times people who do not deserve to get caught will get in trouble for occasionally smoking marijuana, and it ruins their life. “One of my roommates freshman year. 3.9 GPA, perfect kid. Got caught with marijuana. His parents stopped paying for school, he lost all his scholarships. He is now probably going to work at McDonald’s the rest of his life because he got in trouble for something that really shouldn’t be an offense in the first place.”

Although sometimes the “right person” isn’t the one to get in trouble, being caught with Marijuana is still an offense that can take Ohio University students to judiciaries. Lieutenant Stewart says it’s something he’s dealt with for a long time. “I see it all the time. Not a lot of times people interact with the police on the best day of their life…It’s not uncommon, you know, a few times a week you’ll run into it.”

OUPD Lieutenant Dan Stewart says Marijuana use has not really increased

Use by the Numbers

Ohio University Marijuana Offenses:
2004-2005: 272
2005-2006: 347
2006-2007: 434

Ohio University Alcohol Offenses:
2004-2005: 1210
2005-2006: 1598
2006-2007: 1115

Source: Ohio University Judiciaries Website

What to Expect if You Get Caught
Those students at Ohio University who smoke the occasional bowl or joint should be prepared to deal with the police if they are caught with the drug. Here are the consequences if you're caught and convicted.

1. If you possess less than 100 grams, a civil citation and $100 fine.

2. Possession of 100 to 200 grams, it’s a misdemeanor offense and a variable fine.

3. Posession of 200 to 1,000 grams is a misdemeanor offense with a variable fine and 6 months to 1 year in jail.

4. Posession of 1,000 to 20,000 grams is a felony, with a variable fine and 1 to 5 years in jail.

5. Paraphernalia possession is a misdemeanor with up to $750 fine and possible month in jail.

6. Paraphernalia sale is a misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine and up to two months in jail.

Source: Ohio Patient Network

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