New Hampshire has reduced the penalties on marijuana possession due to a new state law.
The law took full effect two weekends ago, according to New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR), and states that people found with three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana will now face a $100 fine rather than jail time.
Those who do not identify themselves can still be arrested, however.
Keene State College Associate Director of Campus Safety Stuart Mitchell said this new law does not apply to how KSC handles possession or use of marijuana.
“The decriminalization of marijuana does not make it a lawful or legal substance, it’s still against the law,” Mitchell said.
“As far as the college is concerned, it is still a prohibited substance… students will be dealt with, faculty, staff, anybody on campus using it or possessing it will be dealt with in the same manner.”
When found possessing or using marijuana, it will be dealt with by not only Campus Safety, but Residence Life and the Conduct Office as well, according to Mitchell.
Campus Safety responds to the Residence Life requests and will investigate. “If need be, we will contact Keene Police [Department] and bring them on board with the process, but otherwise we will seize the paraphernalia and marijuana,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell added that three-fourths of an ounce is visually significant, and if there is ever a question as to whether someone is possessing more than that, the Keene Police Department will be contacted. “If you have more than what looks like personal use, we have to bring in the [Keene] Police Department and we’ll let them make the determination,” Mitchell said.
“I don’t know if they’re going to carry scales or what they’re going to do, but we’ll let them make the determination if it’s over three quarters of an ounce.”
Keene Police Department Captain Steve Stewart said whether they decide to arrest or fine someone is situational.
“We’ll just have to treat it by what amounts are arrestable or not,” Stewart said.
Mitchell said currently for this academic year, Campus Safety has had more complaints regarding vaping than marijuana use.
“We’ve had more calls for people vaping in their rooms because they put out these huge clouds of smoke and they set off the fire alarms and we have to respond over,” Mitchell said.
He stressed that regardless of the new law put in place in New Hampshire, marijuana is still against the law and it “will still get you into trouble.”
Olivia Belanger can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org