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The Truth About College Marijuana Use

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Call a Columbus criminal attorney to prevent your future from going up in smoke

You’d be hard-pressed to find a movie aimed at college kids without at least one scene depicting the main characters pulling out a bong or lighting up a joint.

Even though these movies are fictional, it’s a reflection of the truth. Today, more and more college students are smoking marijuana. In 2013, a study showed that as many as 39 percent of college students had used marijuana within the 12 months prior to the survey.

The current laws

The marijuana laws seem to be changing after every election, and many states are legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana alike.

In Ohio, weed is still illegal. But that doesn’t mean you will necessarily go to jail for smoking pot. If you’re caught with less than 100 grams of pot, you won’t go to jail. But keep in mind it’s still a misdemeanor and comes with a $150 fine. Perhaps worse, any drug offense conviction can result in a mandatory driver’s rights suspension, even if you weren’t driving when you got caught. The suspension can range from six months to five years.

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The crimes and consequences

Since most students tend to use marijuana in the privacy or their homes or dorm rooms, the majority of people who get caught with marijuana aren’t actively using it at the time of their apprehension. Instead, they’re usually caught and charged with one of the following:

  • Possession: The crime of having marijuana or marijuana-related paraphernalia in your vehicle, dorm or on your person at the time of apprehension or arrest.
  • Sale: The crime of distributing marijuana to others. The penalty for selling marijuana is increased if it is done within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Cultivation: The crime of growing the marijuana plant with the intent to use it as an illicit substance.
  • Trafficking: The act of packaging and transporting marijuana with the intent to distribute it to others.

The severity of the consequences for these charges depends on the amount of marijuana in question. The repercussions could be a relatively small fine or some community service, all the way up to a $20,000 fine and eight years of jail time. Factors such as previous drug offenses can also alter your sentence.

A Columbus criminal lawyer can help

Remember that despite its slow march toward legalization, for all intents and purposes, marijuana is still illegal in Ohio. Even if you never get caught, using marijuana in college can lead to other issues, as well.

Getting caught with weed in college can be a bit of a gray area. If you’re caught by an RA or campus security, you may only face penalties via college administration in the form of attending mandatory substance abuse classes or doing some community service. However, if you’re apprehended by police, depending on the charge, you might face fines, jail time and you could even lose your federal loans and scholarships.

That’s why, if you get arrested for a marijuana charge, you need to call one of Yavitch & Palmer’s Columbus criminal attorneys. We’re experienced with the Ohio’s current marijuana laws, and we’ll work to get your charges reduced or dismissed if your case was handled incorrectly.

Call Yavitch & Palmer today at 614-224-6142 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment at our Downtown Columbus office to discuss your case.

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