University of Arizona students and parents, often out-of-state, call us with urgent questions. Far too often a student has been caught in one of the dorms, typically Coronado,smoking marijuana, or lately an extract commonly known as “wax” (Butane Hash Oil). Eighteen years old, with no prior criminal record, the student is summarily booked into Pima County Jail, where he spends the night. Here’s five things you should know.
1. University of Arizona Police still treat marijuana wax as a felony: It may be surprising, but Police treat marijuana wax as a felony, not a misdemeanor, even in small amounts. This is because by operation of Arizona criminal law marijuana “extracts” and concentrates may be considered class four felonies. It may seem counterintuitive, as “wax” is legally and readily available at local dispensaries for all medical marijuana card holders.
2. Cardholders still can’t smoke on campus: University rules provide that even Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) Cardholders cannot smoke on campus. The police have, in the past, arrested as felons AMMA cardholders when caught smoking on campus.
3. Eviction: Typically, University of Arizona Residence Life will evict a student from the dorms for marijuana wax. Sometimes Residence Life provides a 10 day window to find new housing. Other times they do an immediate lock-out—which they call “interim eviction.”
4. Dean of Students Discipline: The Dean of Students Office will always take additional steps to discipline the student, well ahead of any criminal case. Typically, the student will have to take some remedial classes, perform community service and pay a fine.
Students come to University of Arizona with high hopes, but too often find that the criminal justice system here is unforgiving, and the dorms a place where they have little privacy, and fewer civil rights. It is important, therefore, in our view, to obtain sound legal counsel early in the process.