Policy, Federal Law Inhibit Club’s Goal

Ever since Amendment 64 passed, the way that college campuses deal with marijuana has come under scrutiny.  The newest club on campus, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, has made it their goal to not only talk about campus policies regarding drugs, but to potentially change them.

“Here at CSM, our end goal is to promote fair and sensible drug policies on campus that promote student well-being through educational and harm reduction techniques,” Jacob Warnke. president and co-founder of the Mines SSDP chapter, said.

“We aim to accomplish this by establishing a working relationship with the student organizations on campus and with the administration so that we can update and reform the current polices to better suit the needs of CSM students.”

“From a national standpoint, the goal of the SSDP organization is to mobilize and empower students to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth. SSDP neither condones nor condemns drug use, rather we respect the right of individuals to make decisions about their own health and well-being, and we encourage honest conversation about the realities of the drug war. We promote youth civic engagement as a critical tool in reforming drug policy and we develop leaders who advocate for policy changes based on justice, liberty, compassion and reason.“ Warnke said.

The current approach to drug use on campus tends to be a stance focused more on help and education rather than an immediate punishment.

“Our philosophy is that we’d rather modify a student’s behavior. We focus on education rather than an immediate punishment. We don’t want students ruining their opportunity to come to school here.  The opportunity is there, we just want people to play by the rules.”

“We work collectively with the police towards more of a community policing model, which is to educate and talk about behaviors before it becomes a ticketable offense as opposed to a more punitive approach,” Jenn Mazzotta, the Director of Student Activities, said.

“However, if you’re a repeat offender, that’s when it becomes punitive and takes a more judicial approach because the educational approach isn’t getting through.”

In order for the school to continue receiving federal funding, there are requirements that the school must meet.

“Since 2013, there have been changes to freshmen orientation.  However, the focus has shifted more towards alcohol.  The more time I have spent with students the more I have heard the undertones of drug use on campus and this coming fall there is going to be a more layered approach regarding drugs,” Mazzotta said.

“There’s going to be more of a conversation regarding drugs because it has been brought to my attention that there isn’t much of a discussion.”

Policies regarding drug use on campus are very clear and are outlined in the school’s Student Code of Conduct, which states:

“Although possession and use of marijuana consistent with the requirements of the Colorado Constitution is not a crime in the State of Colorado, the possession and use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.  Consistent with federal law, including the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, the use and/or possession of marijuana continues to be prohibited while a student is on Mines owned or controlled property, and/or attending any function authorized or supervised by Mines.”

“The policy is in place because it is required by law,” Chief Bohlen said.

“Law enforcement policies on campus and then state policies all regulate intoxication.  Coming on campus under the influence is a violation of the Code of Conduct and sometimes we have to send students to detox.”

With respect to SSDP and their goal to change campus policies Chief Bohlen said, “it’s not a local fight but rather a national one.”

Grant is an outdoor loving, dirt-bike riding, fiction enthusiast with a knack for writing too much. If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing. As a member of the Creative Writing Staff, Grant loves just about anything that is classified as fiction.

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