Pubdate: Thu, 31 Mar 2005
Source: Equinox, The (NH Edu)
Author: Caroline McCabe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


It has that distinct scent that is easily recognizable and can often
be found in college dorms. And although it's illegal, marijuana is
still a drug that is easy to come by.

Marijuana, also referred to as "pot" or "weed" by many, is
increasingly becoming a popular topic of discussion.

It seems that no matter where you go, most people have an opinion on
whether or not it should be legalized. However, that hasn't dissuaded
some Keene State College students from using the drug.

According to Amanda Warman, director of campus safety, it's not
uncommon for marijuana to be found in the college dorms.

"We probably get two to five calls a week (regarding marijuana),"
Warman said.

But the penalty for marijuana use isn't just a residence hall
documentation and a stern talking to from Campus Safety.

"When we get a call about marijuana, we notify the Keene Police
Department and we will go over and wait for the police to arrive,"
Warman said.

If any marijuana is found, the police will usually confiscate the
drug, according to Warman.

But not only is marijuana smoked on the KSC campus, it is also sold
and disrupted.

There have already been a few cases this semester where students have
been caught selling marijuana in the dorms, according to Warman. And
although some students have been caught, there are still others who
sell and probably will never be caught, she added.

As such is the case for one KSC student. This student will be referred
to as Andy Porter for the purposes of keeping his identity anonymous
to prevent legal action.

Porter sold marijuana for the first time when he was in eighth grade;
however he stopped selling the same year and never did so again until
years later.

Last summer, Porter started selling again to earn back the money he
had lost from buying marijuana.

Once Porter got back into the business, he realized he could make a
good profit. Soon he was making hundreds of dollars in each

"I would buy quarter pounds for around $780 depending on the quality
and sell for like $1200 total," Porter said. The larger the amount he
sold, the more money he made, according to Porter.

This past fall, Porter decided to end his career in selling marijuana.
Although the money was good and he was never caught, there were still
other downsides to selling.

"I didn't have time, it takes a lot of time. Like going to get it
weighed and then always having to answer your phone and find people,"
said Porter, "Stoners aren't the most reliable people in the world."

Although Porter was never caught for selling he has been caught
smoking it in the past.

Porter was arrested on a Wednesday morning and was taken to the Keene
jail. At the police station, he saw dozens of other KSC students who
were there for the same reason.

His punishment consisted of an arrest, going to court and paying a
$420 fine.

Porter no longer smokes marijuana due to having a bad anxiety attack
from the drug, but still said it should be legalized.

"I defiantly think it should [be legalized], it's pretty much harmless
and is a huge cash crop. Why not legalize it?" said Porter, "It's
almost as common among people as cigarettes and alcohol."

Porter isn't the only one here at KSC who wants marijuana to be
legalized; junior Justin Giroux also shared Porter's point of view.

"I'm all for legalizing pot due to the fact that the government has no
business regulating what people can and cannot do to their own
bodies," said Giroux, "As well as for the fact that it has milder
effects than alcohol."

But students aren't the only ones in the KSC community that say people
would be better off with legalizing marijuana.

Chuck Weed, professor of political science and New Hampshire state
representative, said that it is a drug that should be legal.

"Alcohol and tobacco are much more dangerous drugs than marijuana,"
said Weed.

"There have been very few studies of health connections with the use
of marijuana, largely because of the inability to conduct tests
legally," added Weed, "But I think that those studies that do exist,
show marijuana is much less harmful than legalized alcohol and tobacco

Weed also said that, "criminalizing marijuana moves production and
distribution to organized crime away from amateurs."

Warman said that her opinion about whether or not marijuana should be
legalized is irrelevant and her job is to uphold the law.

There may be a lot of students using marijuana that law enforcement
doesn't know about, yet there are also a lot of students who abstain
from it, Warman said.

However when people use it in combination with other drugs things can
become more dangerous, according to Warman.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin