At the Carleton Student Association Senate meeting on Monday, October 12, CSA President Jancyn Appel ’23 presented changes the college has made to its Alcohol and Drug Policy. The changes were made following the legalization of recreational use of hemp-derived marijuana under Minnesota state law.
The state recently moved to legalize, for Minnesotans who are at least 21 years of age, edible and drinkable products containing hemp-derived tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the primary intoxicant of cannabis plants. This change brought Minnesota in line with the federal law, allowing “industrial hemp” products containing less than 0.3% THC. Minnesota, however, also legalized edible and drinkable products containing no more than five milligrams of THC per serving and 50 milligrams of THC per package.
This change in state law prompted Carleton to add three new points to its eight-point drug policy, which now explicitly includes Marijuana and Delta 8 in its list of “illicit drugs.” The first point added reads: “The College prohibits the consumption, possession, use, and sale of illicit drugs. This includes, but is not limited to, cannabis/marijuana, synthetics, Delta 8, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, hallucinogens, inhalants, opiates, opioids (fentanyl, etc), and narcotics. This list is not exhaustive and the College reserves the right to determine what is considered an illicit drug for purposes of this policy.”
The other two new points bar the misuse of prescription drugs as well as the sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The college, in the material disseminated by Appel in the meeting, explained that these points were already part of the policy enforced, but the changes are meant as clarifications. The decision to clarify restrictions marijuana use on campus, in spite of the statewide law changes, comes in part due to the number of students transported to the hospital after having “bad reactions” to consuming edibles and Delta 8, according to a slide deck produced by the college. Students seemed to indicate that they found it “okay” to have Delta 8 on campus, spurring some fear of high usage among students. The reasoning formulated by the college also reiterated the Medical Amnesty policy which is still in place, and their hopes that this will help to clarify the policy and help students make safer choices.
The college also mentioned their commitment to barring the unlawful use of drugs as part of the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act. The 1989 act requires that educational institutions address the use of federally unlawful drugs or risk of losing federal funding.
Appel clarified that though the college had intended to restrict all THC products, a line was taken out of the policy to keep in line with federal regulations allowing products with a less than 0.3% THC content. Further, according to Appel, the policy on marijuana will apply to off-campus study and school breaks, and permits students to be punished for drug usage while off of Carleton’s campus. The policy, however, begins its first paragraph stating that the college prohibits the use of “illicit drugs” on “on College property or as part of any College activities.” No part of the new additions reflect changes to this statement.
When reached out for clarification, Appel expressed confusion with the “seemingly inconsistent” specifications stated by college officials.
The policy has not been formally voted on yet and is subject to change in the coming weeks.
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