Sept. 21, 2015
After Amendment 64 was approved in 2012, Colorado became one of two states to legalize recreational marijuana. Marijuana use has also become more popular in other parts of the country, even surpassing cigarette use.
According to the Washington Post, students at the University of Michigan participated in a poll where five percent of students identified themselves as heavy cigarette smokers. 21 percent of students surveyed said they had used marijuana at least once and 34 percent used it in the past year.
Grady Rogers, senior digital film major and resident assistant, has seen how the campus has changed since his arrival as a freshman.
“Cigarettes are just as common as marijuana, but since I was a freshmen, vaping (tobacco-free version of a cigarette) has become way (more popular).”
Responses to illegal substance instances in Summit Village are different than in Alpine Village, Rogers explained.
“It’s more logged and we catch more freshmen with illegal substances than we do the upperclassmen who are underage because it’s easier to know that we can call public safety knowing that they are underage than students who live in Antero,” Rogers said.
Brian McPike, executive director of Public Safety, shared his thoughts on drug and alcohol use.
“Fortunately for us as a university the drug and alcohol abuse is not really a problem. The campus is extremely safe and the students and faculty are health conscious.”
McPike added that an increase of marijuana use among students was expected after the state legalization.
“Even though we expected to be an increase there really wasn’t one with use or contact of marijuana that the officers had encountered,” McPike said.
While McPike and other campus police officers handle the legal side of an alcohol or drug event, Rogers shared how resident assistants handle situations involving substance abuse.
“We call public safety and once they are there it is up to the officer, and the R.A. is more there to document the interactions between the resident and officer. After the incident we compare notes,” he said.
Despite Amendment 64, marijuana remains illegal on campus.
“Marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, but on a federal level it is considered illegal which we follow here on campus. Therefore, marijuana on campus is considered illegal,” said McPike.