By Josh Suiso
Washington and Colorado’s recent statewide marijuana legalizations have many wondering about implications for public institutions like state-run colleges. In many schools in “legal” states, marijuana is still banned completely on college campuses. In California, what might happen at Humboldt State University if marijuana were legalized?
Dr. Joshua Meisel, coordinator for criminology & justice Studies at HSU, and co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research says that he is unaware of any current plans set in place for the campus if marijuana were to become legalized in California. Any actions would come from higher-ups in the school.
Meisel predicts that the school could follow in the footsteps of other schools in other states where it’s legal. But what works in Colorado might not work here.
“I imagine there will be variations between states,” Meisel said.
The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research devotes itself to serious research about marijuana use.
Currently, students and faculty with 215 cards that allow the use of marijuana medicinally are required to leave campus completely to medicate themselves according to HSU’s drug and alcohol policy.
But the question is, would Humboldt State continue with these same regulations if it were legal to use marijuana in California? Would it follow in the same footsteps as schools in Washington or Colorado and keep the campus wide ban or make exceptions and allow students to use marijuana on campus in much the same way they can drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes in designated places?
Meisel says that he could see a “buffer zone” set up like there is now with cigarettes where a smoker would have to be a certain amount of feet from a classroom or restaurant.
What would this potential legalization mean for a non smoker?
Saryna Collette, 22, anthropology major, feels indifferent about the issue.
“I already feel like people sneak joints between classes, behind classes, in the smoking areas all the time, so I don’t really care,” Collette says. Collette smokes cigarettes. She says she believes all second-hand smoke is “toxic” but added that if these buffer zones are good enough for cigarettes they’re good enough for marijuana.
When asked about how she would expect the campus to change if marijuana became legalized she doesn’t think much would change at all.
“Weed up here is kind of like having a cup of tea or coffee for some people, it’s just not a big deal,” Collette says.
How would legalization affect someone who already smokes marijuana? A 21-year-old biology major says he has never smoked on campus.
“It would be nice to be able to smoke if I’m with my friends at the Depot and I don’t want to get drunk with them,” he says, chuckling. “Sometimes I just don’t want all the extra carbs.”
He says that an area much like a cigarette smoking area for marijuana smokers seems a natural progression. Smoke would be contained and non-smokers wouldn’t be bothered.
“It’s just like ciggs,” he says, “if you don’t like it stay away from it, simple.”