A whole new meaning to “Campus Going Green”
BY Staff Reporter
For an international student, moving onto campus freshman year can be quite the culture shock. Farah, a junior, who requested that her last name not be used, noticed how normalized marijuana is in the United States and how different the views are compared to her home country of Saudi Arabia.
“I would not want to live in the Christiana Towers,” said Farah. “It would really bother me because I’m the outsider and like 90 percent of those students who live there do it, and peer pressure is a thing.”
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2015 over 11 million young adults ages 18-25 used marijuana in the last year. The marijuana laws have eased up within the last three years, making any amount under an ounce decriminalized and punishable with a fine up to $100. Without the fear of jail time, students are more prone to use marijuana for recreational or medical purposes.
“Since University of Delaware is not an alcohol free campus we should be able to have marijuana as well,” said Andrew, a junior, from California, who requested that his last name not be used. “It is actually beneficial to most students for the high anxiety and stress levels of college.”
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency study “Preventing Marijuana Use Among Youth and Young Adults,” “One in every 22 college students use marijuana daily, or near daily. Almost 38% of college students said they use marijuana in 2015 as compared to 30% in 2003.”
First State Compassion Center was the first dispensary to open their doors in 2015 in Wilmington. Mark Lally, president and CEO, foresees the industry growing into a “mainstream product” within the next five years.
“We are proud to lead the way,” Lally said. “As a medical marijuana industry pioneer and Delaware leader we care about alleviating our patients’ suffering and improving their quality of life. Every month, we provide state-authorized medication to 8500 patients at our Wilmington and Lewes locations.”
“What’s important to remember is that medical marijuana is truly a medicine,” he said. “It’s use is authorized by doctors to treat millions of Americans with painful conditions.”
In order to obtain a medical marijuana card in the state of Delaware, you must have one of 15 listed disorders or symptoms.
The first step is to talk to your doctor to see if you have a qualifying reason and medical history as evidence. Next, you and your doctor fill out an application. Afterwards, you mail your application and a $125 application fee to the Delaware Division of Public Health and receive a medical marijuana card valid for one year.
25-year-old Christi Wilson has been a medical marijuana patient in the state of Delaware for three years. She has a herniated disk in her back, which falls under the medical qualifying reason “debilitating pain.”
“Marijuana is a lot less harmful than other drugs or alcohol out there,” Wilson said. “Weed is not physically addictive, we’re proving the stigma against it wrong.”
There are 35 states where marijuana is medically legal, 10 states where marijuana is fully legal and 5 states where marijuana is considered illegal. A majority of the states where marijuana is still fully illegal are in the midwest.
“The public would benefit from a deeper understanding of the benefits of medical marijuana, but there is still a stigma associated with the product — a stigma that is outdated and unnecessary,” Lally said. “We are committed to making sure every patient leaves our dispensaries with a
product that is safe, of the highest quality, and the best option at the time to treat their condition;
whether it’s their first choice or an alternative.”
Marijuana is commonly found in the dorms here on campus. A staff member of Residence Life and Housing, who requested that they remain anonymous, said it is almost as prevalent as alcohol among freshmen.
“I’ve had to confiscate and call the campus police about smoking in the bathroom almost every semester,” they said. “All residence halls are designed to be smoke-free of any kind. I don’t care what you do, just do it outside.”
The Student Code of Conduct states, “The claim that the use of marijuana was for medicinal purposes will not automatically be sufficient for dismissal of any pending charges …”
The university takes its drug policy very seriously and even goes as far to randomly drug test their division one athletes. Some, however, still use it as a form of self-medication.
“Although I’m not supposed to, I use marijuana when I come home from practice to help with my muscle pain and injuries I’ve gotten throughout my years of sports,” said a member of the university basketball team, who requested that they remain anonymous.
Students claim that the university will have to adjust its policy on marijuana if it becomes more popular medically, or even recreationally legal within the next few years. Also, some believe that the school should have a program similar to alcohol edu solely for marijuana. The illegality of marijuana, however, leaves the topic to be swept under the rug instead of openly questioned.
“In 2015, marijuana became legalized for medical use. Isn’t it time we start bringing these conversations into our homes, offices and communities?” Lally said. “We believe the industry will evolve into a mainstream product, with expansions to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana cards, increased accessibility of the medicine, and more states legalizing recreational use.”
According to a study “Health effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids, 2017” by the National Academy of Sciences, early marijuana use is tied to a greater risk of becoming dependent on other substances later in life.
“If it were to become legal or have a better policy there would be a lot less crime on campus,” said Alanna, a sophomore, who requested that her last name not be used. “I know a lot of people in the drug-selling industry here and it’s pretty dangerous when you think about it — they’re importing things from other states and other countries. When they take these risks it’s because they’re desperate for money, or its just easy cash, but they could really be destroying their future.”