It’s hard to imagine a place where Mary Jane is legal. Walking through the streets of Amsterdam, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that marijuana is a large part of tourism for people our age travelling to the city. While weed is legal here, it’s still expected that smokers handle pot in a respective way, and coffee shop businesses are coffee shops, primarily.
Here in Halifax, as a King’s frosh, opportunities will inevitably arise to you in your next few weeks here. People do smoke pot. Somehow, smoking a joint and discussing Plato’s Forms or sitting out in the quad smoking a fatty and plucking at a guitar is an enticing thing to do.
What separates Amsterdam from Halifax is the counter of pre-rolled joints of weed for public sale. So when you walk into a coffee shop, take precaution when buying a joint. You can’t walk up to the counter and ask to purchase a K2, White Widow, or Amnesia joint because the name sounds like it’ll get you super stoned. Chances are, you’ll get too stoned to handle.
Your best bet is to ask the guy selling the joints about the different kinds, the different effects and potencies. Marijuana is legal in the Netherlands, and it’s legal to smoke it, so people are very open to the discussion. Not asking questions might land you with your head in the toilet or in a stranger’s lap.
Mary Jane’s attendance at King’s
Strictly speaking, if you are a King’s student and you get caught by Patrol smoking pot at King’s, you will likely be kicked off campus. If you live in residence, you might get suspended from your dorm room for a few days or even permanently. If you’re caught by police, you’ll land a court date.
Fourth-year King’s student Chloe Peterson (name has been changed) was caught smoking weed by the Halifax Regional Police (HRP) within the first month of her first year at King’s. She was with several other students to a well-known smoking spot.
The covered parking lot adjacent to the New Academic Building, affectionately named Plato’s Cave, is, in theory, a good location because it’s not on King’s property yet right next to the campus.
Peterson says that many of the frosh had been told about the Cave, so she went there to try it with her new friends.
“I had been there a number of times,” said Peterson, “but this time… I thought we were just going to be a couple of people. Then, another group joined us.”
It turns out that a large group is a lot less inconspicuous.
When the police arrived, Peterson, along with two other students who admitted to owning the three grams of weed, were charged with possession of marijuana and given court dates.
The most surprising thing for Peterson was the seriousness with which the officers handled the situation. (September is a risky time to be trying things out since it’s the month when HRP runs “Operation Fallback,” with the intent of stopping new students from partying a little too hard.)
“I’m from out of province, and I’ve been caught with pot before,” she said, “but, I’ve never gotten in serious trouble because of it.”
In this case, Peterson dodged a bullet. A month later, a judge called her after reviewing her file.
“He said, ‘A charge like that could ruin your life. You may not be hired because of this,’ and then he told me to rip up the court date,” said Peterson.
Nick Hatt, the dean of residence, met with Peterson to say she wouldn’t be disciplined as she hadn’t been on campus when caught, she said. Despite this, Peterson said she felt she had to watch her behaviour during the school year since the dean knew she smoked pot.
Peterson continued to smoke throughout the year, but was more careful about where she was and who she was with.
She offered this advice to incoming frosh: “Don’t be dumb. Be discreet and get off campus. It’s really not that hard to do.”
Like Amsterdam, King’s is more than old architecture and lovers of art, music and philosophy.
It’s not unusual for a professor to have her tutorial for wine and pizza or have a smoke (of cigarettes) with a student during a lecture break.
We like to have a good time, as you will undoubtedly learn soon enough.