Lindsey Hogan and Sarah Force, Ferris State Torch
Marijuana 101 is a program most students are required to take after being caught with marijuana on campus.
For more significant cases, the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) will require students to take “Brief Alcohol and Substance Intervention for College Students” (BASICS).
Marijuana 101 is designed to look at multiple aspects of using marijuana including the psychological and social responses.
The course takes three to four hours to complete and has a standard $100 licensing and administration fee.
Ferris healthcare marketing freshman Lucas Zhao was caught with marijuana on campus and was required to take Marijuana 101.
“[The Marijuana 101 program] is bullshit,” Zhao said. “Like where did they come up with these statistics? … I feel like they are too biased on their Marijuana 101 course.”
Coordinator of Student Life Nick Campau said the Marijuana 101 program takes a comprehensive approach.
“We try not to view our office as punitive,” Campau said. “We try to consider it as an educational process. Most of the students that come in are 18, 19 or 20 [years old] and they make mistakes and can learn from them.”
According to the Director of Student Conduct Dr. Erik Wessel, the majority of cases seen by the Office of Student Conduct involving marijuana are for possession or consumption of small amounts.
“However, we do see a limited number of cases that involve larger quantities and/or allegations of intent to sell or distribute,” Wessel said.
When a Ferris police officer is involved, the case is usually sent to the Office of Student Conduct.
“Whether or not it is sent to a prosecutor is at the officer’s discretion,” Campau said. “Sometimes they will look at the cooperation of a student and the amount [of marijuana], but every situation is unique and different and up to the officer versus our office.”
Depending on the severity of the case, Ferris students may receive suspension or dismissal.
“That, however, is not our preference, nor is it common,” Wessel said.
Due to the federal law, students with medical marijuana licenses will undergo the same procedure.
After being charged, a person has the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. Sometimes a plea bargain can be offered and a person can plead guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutor will agree to drop a more serious charge.
“Most marijuana cases dealt with here end in a plea,” Big Rapids Prosecuting Attorney Peter Jaklevic said. “They don’t usually end in a trial.”
Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, and has high potential for abuse and is not approved for medical use, according to the federal government.
“Many students do not realize that a medical marijuana card does not give them the legal right to possess or consume marijuana at Ferris State because marijuana is still classified as an illegal substance by the federal government,” Wessel said.