Hops and Hemp Feel The Heat on Their Heels

Drug policy at UVM is like your used Razor scooter on eBay – nobody’s buying it. Psychedelics are so prevalent that I think pretty soon Full Tank will start accepting CATScratch cards. It’s not that we’re a bunch of drunken THC-crazed criminals, but the sight of a thumb to a lighter is more common than noses to textbooks. And it doesn’t mean anyone is dangerous or that the campus is unsafe. In fact I’m more paranoid about biting into a Cook Commons burrito. Students are perfectly capable of expanding their minds without blowing anyone else’s. Remember what the dormouse said.

One night I lit a stick of Nag Champa before sitting down to work. A female officer on patrol tracked down the scent and informed me that burning incense is not allowed – perfectly reasonable considering the highly flammable nature of most rooms and the highly forgetful nature of most residents. I offered to put it out and, leaning in, she continued, “You’re not allowed to smoke pot either.” She said my pupils looked large and thought that this warranted suspicion. Here I am, Art History textbook in hand, being accused of drug use because my eyes are adjusting to the hallway lights. Well douse me in pepper spray, Sgt. Friday. Better call for backup.

I’m hoping this kind of ignorance among officers is rare. After all, these are the people in charge of health and safety preservation on campus. All I get is a face full of bad breath — thank you again, Cook Commons. The fuzz aren’t likely to go knocking on doors unless the situation gets ugly. It’s hard not to notice the kid wearing a backpack at 2 a.m. Saturday morning holding a package of Ping-Pong balls and sweating Pabst Blue Ribbon. He’s a goner. Forget about him and his bulging can-shaped pockets. He should take his sleeve of red plastic cups and retreat to the nearest room with a table. Every once in a while, some stiff badge wielding a mini-golf pencil and referral slips sniffs out a problem, but the majority of foul play goes unnoticed.

I have a couple friends who have been caught. After a tap on the wrist and a morality pep talk they were in the clear. I think we’re using a “three-strikes-and-you-might-get-in-trouble” method. They had a chat with the RD and smoothed things over. Most schools aren’t nearly as tolerant. With just a single offense your future circles the drain alongside that warm Jim Beam. Man, we’d cut enrollment in half with that kind of approach — too much paperwork.

Besides, if the statistics are true about sexual harassment, we’ve got bigger problems than some jokers with a Roor. I suggest we impose mandatory cold showers and remove Animal House from the library’s DVD collection. First you might have to track down that member of Lambda who borrowed it in 1997. He’s probably still around. While I doubt that it’ll ever get that strict, there have been rumors of policy adjustment (or at least there will be now). The word “punishment” could soon have a whole new meaning.

But no need to raise the panic level to orange just yet, or race out and buy duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal in your smoke. For now, follow the classic rule of thumb: keep your hands to yourself and use your head.