October 2, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 20  

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Weed in rez still a no-no: Housing

By Dan Perry
Gazette Staff

Dallas Curow/Gazette
DR. GREENTHUMB. Don't worry Cypress Hill, this anonymous Western student doesn't have the problem of running out of weed.

This summer's decision by Ontario courts not to prosecute simple possession of cannabis may lead stoners everywhere to believe they are finally off the hook. On campus, however, it is business as usual.

Sgt. Michael Micks of the Campus Community Police Service reported that although there is no new policy direction, there was a meeting between Western's Housing and Ancillary Services and campus police last week.

"Primarily, we looked at drug use enforcement in residence. There's been a response grid developed in conjunction with Housing on how they will deal with drug use in rez," Micks said. While there was discussion of the Code of Student Conduct, there were no changes made to its current provisions surrounding drug use, he added.

Just because police are not pressing criminal charges, there is no reason to believe the rules on campus have changed, Micks explained.

"Drug use is against the law and smoking is against the rules in rez," said Susan Grindrod, associate VP-housing and ancillary services.

"We're trying to reflect what's going on in society," she said, adding it is important to make sure Housing and the CCPS are on the same page.

"Most actions will be [taken by] Housing in association with the CCPS, but primarily [by] Housing," Micks said. Cases of trafficking, however, will be dealt with through CCPS and the London Police Department will be called in, he added.

One important clarification made in last week's meeting surrounded the amount of pot involved, Grindrod said. The law is ambiguous surrounding what constitutes a personal use amount, but there is no specific threshold on how much contraband is too much, she added.

"The law hasn't changed," Grindrod said. "The enforcement, from a residence life perspective, isn't always in the hands of the law," she added, noting although the police will be called to confiscate the marijuana, the discipline students receive will still come through Housing.

"[The rules] are still pretty strict - I remember people getting kicked out of rez last year," said Koah Kalson-Ray, a second-year actuarial science student.

In less serious cases, a police presence could prove important, according to Ashley Lerman, also a second-year actuarial science student. "It would make enforcement a lot more serious," she said.

"If a bigger deal were made out of [minor cases], then [there] might be a bit more of a wake-up call," Kalson-Ray added.




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