September 23, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 14  

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McMaster student code includes marijuana

By Dan Perry
Gazette Staff

Instead of redefining "higher" education, students at McMaster University are paying higher fines for smoking up on campus.

"We changed our Student Code of Conduct so that the fine for marijuana use and that for open alcohol [on campus] were equivalent," said Phil Wood, associate VP-university affairs at McMaster.

As a result of the courts' recent decision to no longer process simple possession charges, students caught with marijuana were essentially getting off, while students drinking outdoors were still paying a $130 fine if caught.

"The university reserves the right to have our own code of conduct; students are subject to both [the] laws of the land and the code of conduct," Wood said.

Like McMaster's code of conduct, Western's contains rules regarding the possession and sale of narcotics on campus, said Brian Timney, dean of social science at Western, who also worked on Western's final revision of its code.

"Under our current code of conduct, there'd be no need to sanction a student under the code," Timney said, as prior to the legal decisions, cases would have been referred to the Campus Community Police Service.

Marijuana usage will continue to be regulated at McMaster until further notice, Wood said. "The decisions in the courts haven't legalized [possession] and if things play out the way I expect, it will become the equivalent of a ticket ," he said, stressing he was, however, only speculating.

Timney said he had never heard of any code infractions on Western's campus. "The position that we took when we developed the code was that it wouldn't regulate students lives other than when they're involved in campus activities. A student acting as an individual would not be penalized under the code," he said.

Sgt. Michael Mics at CCPS explained that currently no criminal charges are being laid for marijuana possession in personal use amounts, but students can expect to have their stash seized if they are caught with it.



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