Cuesta police received increasing complaints about marijuana in designated tobacco smoking areas.
Photo by Alexander Bissel/Photo and Video Editor/Cuestonian
By Oliver Fend
With California’s recent passage of Proposition 64 — which legalized marijuana for recreational use — Cuesta’s police department has experienced a spike in complaints regarding marijuana smoking on campus, according to department officials.
Cuesta Police Chief Bryan Millard, said that he wants students to understand the difference between the legal, appropriate use of marijuana at home, as opposed to a college campus.
“Students should see where it’s okay to use, such as a home setting opposed to an educational facility” Millard said.
On Nov. 9, 2016 Californians approved of Prop 64 to legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21.
The new proposition allows adults over the age of 21 to use, possess, transport, and to give away to others of legal age, no more than one ounce of marijuana or eight grams of concentrate. The new law also allows those eligible to cultivate up to six plants in their own home.
Under prop. 64 it is illegal to consume marijuana in any public place; punishment, at its minimum,being a $100 fine. Minors under 21 also may not use, possess, or cultivate marijuana. Those who are above the age of 18 are subject to a $100 fine. Individuals under the age of 18 will be put into drug counseling and public service.
Students could potentially face immediate expulsion and criminal charges for frequent marijuana use on Cuesta’s campus.
Millard said he determines what medical legitimacy some people might have when smoking in public and is more lenient on those who fall under those terms.
Millard emphasizes that a punishment relating to marijuana should be fit for the crime that was committed. Prior history such as a medical recommendation or a record of marijuana offenses would be taken into account with the legal process.
“Everyone is subjected to the same process” Millard said. “Some people are simply unaware, but people should be generally aware of the rules on campus.”
If you were caught using cannabis on campus, you will be let off with a warning for the first offense, any other offense after that will be met with with a potential arrest or expulsion.
Sale of marijuana products on campus will be met with no leniency regardless of legalization. An immediate arrest and charges will take place with no questions asked.
The police department has launched a social media campaign and has hosted events on campus in an effort to promote campus safety according to Millard.
“We started our Facebook series with messages about general safety on campus, such as how to call campus police, how to handle a medical emergency, and recently, we posted a self-made video called ‘Lockdown’.
These PSA videos on public safety will soon cover drugs and alcohol in the near future.
“This is the first of what will hopefully be several short public safety videos. We do plan to include drugs, alcohol, and specifically marijuana use as part of that series”, Millard said.
Millard suggested that education may be the best route to curb public smoking.
“Realistically speaking, what we have to expect is that public use is never going away,” Millard said. “There [are] only going to be ways to prevent it as opposed to stopping it altogether… what we can do in order to prevent or minimize the use is to educate people.”
When asked about the reception of the signage on campus, Millard had this to say, “If I were to make any changes to the sign it would be to make it more graphically based.”
“What works for our current sign is that there is a massive pot leaf right on the front of it, but it loses its appeal with the massive wall of text that nobody will want to read unless there might be graphics to correspond with the points that are made.”