SGA House passes amendment of marijuana policy, Senate tables resolution

A new resolution passed by the Student Government Association's House of Representatives might change Central Michigan University's policy on the penalty for marijuana possession.

The legislation, presented by Student Advocates for Medical and Recreational Cannabis, passed the House on Monday but after debating for 45 minutes, was tabled by the Senate until the SGA meeting next week.

The resolution would amend Residence Life's policy to no longer classify marijuana as a controlled substance. The penalty for marijuana violations would then be changed to match the more lenient punishment for alcohol possession.

"The penalties send everyone the wrong message, that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol," said Ian Elliott, president of SAMRC. "There is a sweeping movement across the country to remove these kinds of policies. To me, this change should have happened a long time ago."

The Cheboygan freshman said changing the policy would be a step toward removing the negative stigma of marijuana on campus.

CMU's policy on alcohol calls for a $200 fine and a mandatory online education course on the first violation with a $300 fine for the second. For a third offense, a student must either pay a $300 fine or risk possible suspension.

The penalty for the first violation of marijuana possession is a $300 fine, an online course and disciplinary probation for the remainder of the student's academic career. A second violation results in a $400 or suspension.

The resolution would eliminate the more severe penalties for marijuana and replace them with penalties that are no greater than or less than those for alcohol.

If the resolution is later passed by the Senate, the report will be sent to be signed, vetoed  or pocket vetoed by SGA President Marie Reimers.

Should Reimers pocket veto the resolution, or not make a decision, the proposal will automatically pass according to SGA regulations.

"I need to do more research about the matter before I can say anything," Reimers said.

If the resolution is signed by Reimers, it will be compiled and given to the Office of Student Conduct for review.

Student Life Editor Nathan Clark contributed to this story.


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