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Smoking marijuana on campus is still a hard no, even after legalization in Ohio

Amnesty policy still in effect for students in drug or alcohol related emergencies

Last November, Ohio became the twenty fourth state to legalize marijuana, but if you are living in an Otterbein housing facility, there might be some limits on where smoking can be practiced. 

This comes after months of discussion and debate in Ohio, even a discussion about the legalization of Marijuana was hosted on Otterbein’s campus.

On Jan. 5, vice president of Student Affairs, Bill Fox and director of human resources, Molly Miller sent an email to Otterbein students and faculty saying that, “Otterbein’s policies prohibiting marijuana on campus remain in effect. The new state law does not change Otterbein’s policies.” 

For Otterbein, an institution that accepts federal funding, federal laws come into place to make this prohibition.

“Otterbein’s policies prohibiting marijuana on campus remain in effect. The new state law does not change Otterbein’s policies,” according to the Jan. 5 email. 

Camden Gelfand, a senior music and business major works in Kerr Hall as a residence assistant. Resident assistants at Otterbein receive training for how to handle drug complaints and instances where drugs are found in a dorm room. 

“If they are, and we do find out and they are honest about having weed, we would have to call OPD because we are not able to handle it, it goes straight to OPD,” says Gelfand.  

Still RAs depend on the compliance of residents to come in and search the room for drugs. “We can’t force ourselves in obviously,” says Gelfand. 

Even though marijuana and other drug usage is prohibited, Otterbein’s amnesty policy is still being practiced in instances of drug usage. 

According to page 58 of Otterbein’s campus life handbook,If a student calls University staff or Otterbein Police for assistance for themselves or another student because of severe intoxication, overdose or physical injury, neither the reporting student nor the student in need will be charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.”  

Dean of Students Julie Saker says this policy is still to protect students. 

“If someone is using any kind of drug, be it alcohol, or any kind of drug and there's a life-threatening situation, we aren't worried about the drug use, we want to make sure everybody's safe,” says Saker. 

While this policy is to encourage students to call for help in emergencies, the amnesty policy does not apply for instances in which students are found smoking or possessing drugs by Otterbein police or faculty, where there is no emergency or call for help. 

While Ohio figures out its own policies and where marijuana fits into the state’s laws, Otterbein is still considered a no-go zone for smoking marijuana. 


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