Staff Editorial April. 7, 2010

SUNORML, Suffolk’s chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, is working tirelessly with the University’s administration to reform Suffolk’s drug policies in the residence halls and they’re certainly making headway.

However, at this month’s TSAC (Trustee’s Student Activities Committee) meeting, which was held yesterday, SUNORML President Jeff Morris said that his club was hoping to not fully change the drug policy, as originally planned, instead the organization will work to craft a policy specific to cannabis use.

Suffolk should not drag its feet on this idea. Morris and his team have put together a comprehensive educational program that has been shown in the residence halls and to administrators pointing out that alcohol, which has its own policy, is a significantly more dangerous and hazardous substance.

While the state (and the nation) move toward easing marijuana laws, the University needs to do so as well. Keeping the drug policy as it is currently is a great idea on behalf of SUNORML and it’s the right step to take. Having three separate policies and punishment procedures for alcohol, marijuana and hard drugs is something that is not only simple, but should be taken into consideration before this year is over and before more students lose their housing for something as simple as smoking dope.

When alcohol is consumed in the dorms by underage students, first timers get a fine and a warning. However, first-time offenders who are caught smoking marijuana face losing their housing, scholarships and even expulsion from the University. This is simply ludicrous and needs to be examined immediately, especially when medical marijuana is only a short time away from being legalized in this state. What happens to those students who have anxiety disorders or back pain? Will they too lose their housing for smoking in the dorms, even if they’re using it for medicinal purposes?

Suffolk needs to be a leader in this cause. SUNORML’s Suffolk chapter has close to 1,100 members, which is nearly the size of the entire senior class, and is actually larger than the Mass. chapter of MassCann, the state’s pro-cannabis lobby, and Suffolk’s needs to show its pride in this exceptional group of students and bow to common sense by changing their policies regarding marijuana in the residence halls.

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