Pubdate: Thu, 11 Oct 2007
Source: Equinox, The (NH Edu)
Copyright: 2007 The Equinox
Bookmark: (Marijuana)


Last week, four students at Franklin Pierce University  in Rindge
returned to their on-campus apartment to find  that they had been
locked out. The students were not  allowed to enter the house to eat,
sleep or get their  books for 26 hours.

A routine maintenance check had turned up an empty  grinder, allegedly
used for marijuana. When police  fully searched the house, they did in
fact find a small  bag of marijuana.

When sophomore Robert Braverman was arrested on Oct. 4,  hundreds of
students at FPU rallied in front of his  home to protest police action
and the university's drug  policy.

The policy created this summer is to notify local  police about
suspected drug use on campus. This case  has highlighted concerns
about student's rights against  unreasonable search and seizure.

Although university officials claim the policy isn't  intended to
punish students, but instead to clarify  both police and campus safety
roles in criminal  incidents, student outrage is understandable. It's
unclear why such drastic action needs to be taken  against students of
a victimless crime.

As is the case at Keene State College, campus safety  officers at FPU
lack the authorization to deal with  criminal matters on campus
because they are not  licensed to do so.

The reaction by FPU officials and the Rindge Police  Department
mirrors on a small scale the misdirected  focus of effort with respect
to the national War on  Drugs and laws against the use of marijuana.

Millions of people convicted of drug, specifically  marijuana,
offenses are clogging up prisons and  unnecessarily wasting billions
of dollars in taxes each  year.

Who was being hurt by the possession of this illicit

The FPU student was removed from his class for  questioning, an action
which likely interrupted his  academic well-being more than the
effects of his  recreational substance of choice. After all, he was in

And instead of condemning petty drug offenders (there  are many
exceptions to this, like selling drugs to  kids) to prison, we should
be providing social programs  aimed at helping people back on their
feet after  falling victim to more serious drugs. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake