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Re-evaluated marijuana policy needed

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The decision regarding Notre Dame point guard Kyle McAlarney’s future was released Tuesday afternoon. The sophomore, who was arrested for possession of marijuana after a game in late December, was dismissed from school and will be eligible to reapply to Notre Dame for summer sessions. Many will probably be up in arms over the apparent martyring of a familiar campus figure, but the real issue is not this one case, but rather the University’s policy on marijuana that has been in place for years. Not only does Du Lac claim that being caught with any marijuana one time is a violation worthy of expulsion, they actually back it up. Kyle is not the first student to be suspended after his first marijuana offense and not the first to be suspended for possessing an amount so small that it would generally result in a slap on the wrist as far as the law is concerned. I know Notre Dame is not Berkeley, and I’m not proposing that it should be, but when a university’s policies regarding marijuana are significantly stricter than the law’s, there is something seriously wrong. The United States laws regarding marijuana were drawn up during a time when knowledge about drugs was so limited that films such as “Reefer Madness” (a 1936 film in which people who are high on marijuana are depicted as sex-crazed murderers) were taken seriously, and these laws have not changed much since. While the country’s marijuana laws are strict, Notre Dame’s policies blow them out of the water. In an environment where binge drinking is practically encouraged, one offense for possessing marijuana, a significantly less dangerous drug, will almost certainly result in expulsion without guaranteed readmission, throwing your life completely off course. Something here just doesn’t add up.

Paul Holt

junior

off campus

Jan. 24