Last week, a Seattle University senior received a two-quarter suspension. Her crime? Baking a batch of brownies.
The student was suspended after school officials discovered she was baking marijuana edibles and selling them to local medical marijuana dispensaries. The student, who has thus far chosen to remain anonymous, will not be able to graduate on time, nor will she be reimbursed for this quarter’s tuition.
According to an interview with the student published by KOMO News, she decided to start baking and selling the edibles when the cost of college overwhelmed her limited budget.
Her foray into the side job, which is legal under Washington state law, was short-lived. After baking a batch of the edibles at a friend’s house off campus, the student returned to campus en route to a local dispensary.
“My roommates got ahold of some of them,” the student told KOMO. “They ended up selling them to a freshman girl.”
It remains unclear how or why the student’s roommate gained possession of the edibles.
The freshman in question became ill after eating the edibles, so she contacted the university for medical assistance.
After learning that a student had baked the brownies, university officials suspended the baker of the edibles for the remainder of the school year. Reportedly, no one else has been penalized for involvement with
Because Washington State is one of 20 states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana and one of only two states to legalize the recreational use of the drug, some students have expressed uncertainty about the university’s marijuana policies.
“Sometimes, I can get a bit confused [about] what exactly the school thinks about pot,” said freshman Zach Strokes.
According to a memorandum regarding marijuana use or possession published by the Seattle University Office of the University counsel, “Despite the change in state law regarding marijuana, Seattle University’s policy remains unchanged: use and possession of marijuana on campus or in association with any university-sponsored or affiliated activity or program is prohibited.”
For all intents and purposes this policy is in compliance with federal law, which the university must observe to to maintain its access to federal funds for student financial aid, faculty research and other important programs and services.
It is consistent with school policy that the student was punished for having possession of edibles; however, some of her peers are still concerned with what they see as the school’s heavy-handed approach to this
“I think the school punished her too harshly for what she did,” said sophomore Giselle Lichen. “I get that pot is frowned upon by the school, but she barely did anything wrong. It sounds like she was just trying to help some med patients and dispensaries. I don’t think she even wanted to give them to students.”
Other students expressed similar opinions about the incident and the school’s marijuana policy in general.
“Being suspended for a year and losing tuition money and graduating late seem like harsh punishments for a pot offense,” said junior Jed Grishen. “I get punishing someone for smoking in their dorm or something, but even then a yearlong suspension for weed is overkill.”
Seattle U’s marijuana policy is protected by the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, meaning the student cannot fight to have her suspension reversed.
“Universities must have policies in line with the federal Drug Free Schools law or risk losing federal financial aid for its students,” Dean Forbes, a Seattle U spokesman, told the Huffington Post. “Universities are prohibited under federal law from discussing cases or actual facts regarding personal records of students.”
Will can be reached at [email protected]