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Would College Students Face Misconduct Charges for Legalized Weed?

Legal Blog

Marijuana. We all know that over time, more and more states are growing accustomed to the idea of legalization of the contraband. If a state like New Jersey decides to legalize marijuana recreationally, you can expect that many students face misconduct charges. Why? Well, when it comes to legalization of marijuana between the federal government and universities, it can be a tricky situation. From the perspective of college officials, marijuana is still seen as a contraband. Let’s talk more about the complex nature of students facing misconduct charges for legalized weed.

Legalized Weed Vs. Universities

According to university relations vice president, Jose Cardona: “You have to do a gut check. What happens if we start allowing these things? Every college and university has federal money. And you can’t really do it, because you might lose all your federal funds. At the end of the day, he believes the trade-off just isn’t worth it. What do you think?

So you may be asking yourself, “what does that mean for college students?” That’s a great question because while it would be legal for a 21-year-old to carry up to one ounce of marijuana on the street, a 21-year-old college student could face severe consequences if caught in a dormitory by a resident assistant or campus police. Strange, right? But yet again, schools have certain restrictions, like dress code or smoking on campus.

Even if weed is legalized in New Jersey, it would still be considered illegal for users to smoke in public. So what does that mean for students that attend, let’s say, Rutgers University? Students could be arrested if they are caught smoking a joint on campus. Even if a student is a card-carrying patient who picked up weed legally from a New Jersey medical marijuana dispensary, some colleges have strict policies prohibiting the use or possession of medical marijuana.

 

But not every student finds these restrictions to be unreasonable. According to 24-year-old Justin Jall, a Rutgers University graduate student studying labor relations: “That’s totally fair for a university to do. It’s their rules and their regulations. They want to do what’s best for the people that attend their university. People from all over come here, and you don’t know if it might be cool with some people but not cool with other people.”

 

What Are The Punishments When Students Face Misconduct Charges?

So here comes the big question. What are the penalties when students face misconduct charges? When a New Jersey college student, like a Rutgers student, is caught with marijuana on campus, it is usually gets handled by both the university’s student conduct office and the campus police.

New Jersey universities and colleges, as well as schools all around the nation, have fully functioning police departments. Just because the officers work at a university, they still have the same power and enforcement. Officers can arrest students and issue violations the same as officers employed by a municipality. For example, if students face misconduct charges at Monmouth University, they face a similar fate as if a West Long Branch police officer arrested them!

Students can face criminal charges and academic penalties. A first time offender in a school like Montclair State University will most likely face probation and will have to report to drug abuse classes.

 

The Numbers Keep Rising

The number of students facing misconduct charges is increasing rapidly! According to FBI’s Uniform Criminal Program who studied 14 New Jersey schools, in 2016 nearly 600 marijuana arrests were made by campus police. That number tripled since 2008!

Compared with 48 percent arrests statewide, about 84 percent of those arrests involved suspects between the ages of 18 and 24. Racial demographics among college students arrested are also very similar to statewide figures. How much, exactly? 58% of college arrests involved a white suspect, and 34% included a black suspect. But one interesting fact when it comes to students facing misconduct charges involve Asian suspects. They make up less than 2% of all marijuana arrests statewide, but when it comes to college arrests, they make up 7 percent!

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If you, or someone you know, have any questions or concerns about misconduct charges when it comes to legalized marijuana, don’t hesitate. Speak to someone today here.

 

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