According to board policy, Citrus College may not be a smoke-free campus, but it is supposed to be a drug free campus. However, in the last two years, the number of drug violations has gone up significantly, and 2013 marked an unprecedented increase for recorded incidents of possession of marijuana on campus.
Each year, in compliance with the federal Jeanne Clery Act, institutions of higher education are required to deliver timely warnings of crimes on campus and report our collected data to the campus community.
In 2011, Citrus reported 13 disciplinary referrals for drug law violations with no resulting arrests. In 2012, Citrus reported 21 disciplinary referrals and four drug law arrests.
In 2013, the college reported 25 drug law violations with 14 resulting in disciplinary referrals, according to the Clery Reports.
The Glendora Police Department handled 23 of the campus violations attributed to possession of marijuana as a college policy violation under the Standards of Student Conduct. According to the campus Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Use Policy, “The unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and/or alcohol on Citrus College property, or as part of any college activity, is prohibited and is a violation of District policy.”
Nevertheless, many students may be unaware of this campus policy, as was Tori Walling, a nursing student, who stated that she “didn’t know that students with medical marijuana cards are not allowed to smoke on campus grounds.”
Although many students may be unaware of board policies, some college employees have expressed the view that this sudden rise of incidents has more to do with the increased popularity of medical marijuana cards over the past two years.
With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado, many may assume that California will not be long after. As it has already appeared on voter’s ballots in California, various agencies are attempting to put the issue back into social consciousness.
“Students are under the impression that they can smoke marijuana anywhere on campus with a medical marijuana card,” said Ben Macias, interim director of campus security.
However, what students may fail to understand is that despite their owning a medical marijuana registration card, they are not exempt from federal law, which defines marijuana as a controlled substance.
In 1970, Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act in which various controlled substances are classified into tiers based on their potential for abuse and the lack of current medical use or accepted safety for use of the drug. As medical marijuana currently falls into this category, federal law makes it illegal to possess this substance.
Because Citrus College receives federal financial aid as well as its students, the college must abide by federal laws, thus making marijuana illegal on campus.
If a student is found in possession of illegal substances on campus, the student may risk forfeiting his or her federal financial aid.
“I think it is important for students to understand that it is a violation of the Standards of Conduct to be under the influence of marijuana or any controlled substance anywhere on campus,” said Martha McDonald, interim executive dean at Citrus College. “This includes parking lots, irrespective of having a registered medical marijuana card.”
“Some of the students who have been caught thought their medical marijuana card enabled them to smoke on campus as we are in Los Angeles County,” said Arvid Spor, vice president of student services.
Students with authorized medical marijuana cards should be made aware that the drug is not allowed anywhere on school grounds. Lest they become a citation number in this year’s incident report.