Pot, weed, grass–call it what you want, but marijuana still remains as the world’s most commonly used illicit drug. The frequent arrests at Fairfield University regarding the usage or possession of marijuana raise concern on campus.

In the month of November alone, there was an alarmingly high number of incidents involving marijuana. The Department of Public Safety shows that in the academic year of 2008-2009, approximately 30 drug related incidents had occurred, and 39 in the 2009-2010 year. Around 10 cases involving marijuana have been documented in December so far.

There are various ways in which the Department of Public Safety comes across these incidents. The Residential Assistant (RA) might call about suspicious odors or activities, or things found during inspections. Officers or students can come across any suspicious activity and notify the department.

Though Public Safety does not directly confiscate the marijuana and/or drugs, they have a procedure that involves notifying the Fairfield County Police of the drug related incidents.

The problem of marijuana on the campus is not an isolated incident, as it also reflects the situation in other United States college campuses.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, prevention professionals report concern because marijuana may act as a ‘gateway’ drug, serving as an introduction to the ‘drug scene’ and additional types of drug use.” In addition, marijuana inhibits a person’s attention, memory and learning.

Proposition 19, which called for the legalization of marijuana for anyone older than 21 years old, was overturned in Congress in the beginning of November. It also would have allowed the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for personal use at home and/or a licensed public area, and grow the drug in a space of up to 25 square feet.

There are few counterarguments for this law. One side supports the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. The opponents say that decriminalizing marijuana would cause more health and criminal problems.

The latter opinion is also held by Lieutenant John Ritchie, Assistant Director of the Department of Public Safety, who believes that the proposition would not have solved all problems regarding the drug. “One [reason] being that marijuana is a schedule one drug under federal law, meaning it is illegal to possess. For marijuana to be truly legal, you would have to get the feds to amend the schedule. Another would be the impact on neighboring countries, such as Mexico. Look at the violence and corruption in Mexico from drug cartels right now. Carcinogens and cancer are another concern,” said Ritchie. Public Safety continues to look out for drug-related incidents at Fairfield University.

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