By Chris Cumella and Cameron Humphrey
Marijuana legalization, while underway, is not set in stone. However, students at Purchase are weighing in on the matter with mixed feelings about what it could mean for the future of Purchase.
When asked about whether or not they expected to see larger amounts of marijuana being used on campus, over 75% of students who responded to our survey said ‘Yes.’
For some, the possibility of legal recreational use of marijuana is seen as a positive thing. Students listed off various reasons calling for legalization, such as releasing people from prison for nonviolent drug crimes, lowering anxiety, increasing health benefits, raising tax revenue to help the economy, and so on.
“People will probably smoke inside less, causing unnecessary fire alarms,” said Frankie Pacheco, a liberal arts sophomore stating the same thought as many others who think allowing marijuana on campus would be a positive thing. Pacheco added that “students that already do use marijuana can be less paranoid about it, so they can relax around campus a little more.
On Jan. 15, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a plan to legalize and tax marijuana sales in the New York state. Reportedly, under Cuomo’s proposal, legal sales would not be in effect until April 1, 2020 and would be restricted to any person aged 21 or older. Regardless, the conversation about the subject has not been short. Students and staff alike are expressing their thoughts about what possible legalization would mean for their campus. Senior screenwriting major Walter Lauer said, “If you don't like the smell of marijuana, then there's a good chance you won't be super happy about it.”
Not all students viewed the possible legalization of marijuana as a good thing. Some students stated that they were uncomfortable with the campus reeking with marijuana or having to attend class with a high classmate.
“Some people are unable to exhibit self-control when it comes to things like marijuana and alcohol,” said cinema studies sophomore Andy Garcea, claiming that it would introduce problems to those who already use it. “I think that allowing marijuana on campus would enable said people to make poor decisions and perhaps begin to slack off when it comes to actually doing work.”
On usage on campus, junior sociology major Shane Pasko said, “I assume there will be more car crashes or at least an increase in people being caught high while driving.”
Chief of Police Dayton Tucker said marijuana has changed over the past few decades and how “synthetic” products are making their way into students’ hands. Tucker said that any smoking on campus would not be tolerated by the school, and that students may be reprimanded if seen smoking in public.
Some students said bringing back a designated smoking area for students to use on campus would help. Prior to the tobacco-free campus policy at Purchase, a smoking bench was conveniently placed next to the dining hall for those wishing to enjoy a cigarette or similar said retrieval of tobacco. Some students are calling for a new spot to be allowed for marijuana usage on campus. Nixida Sirera, a sophomore political science major, said, “Those who smoke tobacco got to do it in a designated spot, so students should be able to smoke weed in designated areas on campus so that it doesn’t affect others.”
In accordance with the smoking policy on campus, the SUNY system is implying that smoking of any kind on campus is not tolerated. Despite that, what will occur after marijuana is legalized in the New York state is uncertain for Purchase until it actually happens in the year of 2020.
“So long as it doesn't bother someone else I don't see why people can't do it,” said Domenic Carucci, a junior literature major. “As long as they clean whatever waste their recreational drug of choice leaves.”