40 adults charged with weed possession since legalization
From Nov. 30, 2016 to Nov. 29, 2018 University Police issued 81 citations for marijuana possession, according to a public records request. Five of those citations were issued to minors, 36 were issued to adults between the ages of 18 and 20, and 40 infractions were issued to people over 21 in a state where marijuana is legal.
“The rule in California is, you can possess up to one ounce of marijuana, but the campus can have their own policy and that can be different,” explained Adrian Kamada, Deputy District Attorney for Humboldt county. “Basically, with legalization it is decriminalized and not completely legal.”
California State Universities have the authority to enforce their own policies using the University Code of Rules and Regulations. According to the UCRR, HSU was granted the authority to “enact rules and regulations governing the conduct of all persons upon the campus in Arcata and upon the satellite areas under the jurisdiction of the [university] president.” Since the university is technically state property, it does not have to abide by local ordinances that govern the surrounding areas.
Angelica Preciado-Nessen, records and dispatch supervisor with UPD, said the university uses three to four laws to issue citations for marijuana possession on campus. Charge 11357 (A) (2) is used to charge for possession of marijuana or concentrates for adults ages 18-20, Charge 11357 (A) (1) is used to charge for possession by a minor and UCRR 5200 which states “any drug, narcotic or controlled substance… is prohibited on the university campus.”
“They’re all infractions, they go away after so many years,” Preciado-Nessen said. “If we do not choose to enforce them, the federal government can pull our funding. We would not be able to fund ourselves with just state funding.”
On Nov. 9, 2016 former Governor Jerry Brown signed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, allowing the recreational use of marijuana. This let individuals in California over 21 possess up to one ounce of marijuana and no more than 8 grams of cannabis concentrates.
“Under 18 is generally a diversion and drug education program, 18 to 20 is a ticket,” Deputy DA Kamada said. “Over one ounce and over 21 is a misdemeanor up to a $500 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Same with over 8 grams of concentrates.”
The public records request also revealed 34 complaints between August 2016 and December 2018 for marijuana smells, with most complaints coming from the Canyon and Jolly Giant common areas. There were 257 incidents where UPD responded to calls for suspected drug activity with 78 of them resulting in some sort of citation. Of the 257 incidents, 130 of them were called to the Canyon and Jolly Giant areas. During that same time period, only one person was charged for selling marijuana and four people were charged with 11377 (a), possession of a controlled substance. Deputy DA Kamada said that individuals charged with 11377 (a) were most likely caught with meth, MDMA or mushrooms. Three people were charged with 11350 (a), most likely for possession of heroin or cocaine according to Deputy DA Kamada.