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Drug Arrests Increase at Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, Mich.—Michigan State University arrested 261 people for drugs in 2012, a 158 percent increase from two years earlier, the East Lansing school says.

The university had more drug arrests than any state school in 2012, the last year for which figures are available, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday. It said Michigan State had 31 percent more drug arrests than the 199 arrests at the University of Michigan that year.

Michigan State reported 101 drug arrests in 2010.

According to the Michigan State University student health self-assessment in spring 2012, 18.9 percent of students reported they used marijuana in the previous month and 2.5 percent said they used amphetamines in that time.

Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said he believes that Michigan’s medical marijuana law has increased student drug use.

“It’s got people thinking (smoking marijuana) is just OK,” he said.

Campus police said they aren’t increasing drug enforcement and said most of the cases involve marijuana. Students are increasingly willing to report the use of marijuana to police, police spokeswoman Florene McGlothian-Taylor said.

“More dorm residents are calling in the smell of marijuana—that is, making calls to us,” McGlothian-Taylor said.

Alex Passanesi said he was playing guitar and hadn’t been smoking marijuana when police came to his dorm room one night before spring break. The officers brought in a dog, searched his room and found marijuana, LSD and other drugs. He spent several days in the county jail and had to move.

“I guess I could look like a hippie,” he said. “I’ve got a bunch of psychedelic and Buddha posters on my door and black lights and classic rock music playing from my room all the time. I feel like I was profiled and judged.”

Passanesi said marijuana is common on campus.

“I don’t think they’re using it in their dorms, but they’re possessing it and they’re using it at parties,” he said.

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