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Marijuana citations frequent on golf course

During the closing shift, student employees say they can sit in the Golf and Tennis Center and see glowing as students smoke marijuana in the tree lines.

The Ohio University Golf and Tennis Center is next to the golf course on campus. Benjamin Justice, a coordinator for Campus Recreation, said there have been only a couple incidents the center has had to deal with since he was hired in June. 

“If it does happen during our operating hours, and we catch it, we call OUPD and they come down and deal with it,” Justice said.

Employees at the center have dealt with some issues with marijuana-related items during day shifts, but the reports show that most citations were written between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. There have been 24 marijuana-related incidents on the golf course since the start of Fall Semester, according to OUPD’s public radio log. 

OUPD officers issued 23 citations for marijuana possession and paraphernalia since Aug. 28, the first day of classes. In the 24th report, OUPD collected and destroyed found marijuana paraphernalia without issuing a citation. 

Justice said that he was unaware how many citations officers issue after the golf and tennis center closes. 

OUPD Chief Andrew Powers said reports of people smoking marijuana are fairly common on the golf course.

“I think it is probably due to its close proximity to a relatively large residential population,” Powers said in an email. “It is quick and easy to walk to the golf course.”

Jenny Hall-Jones, the dean of students, knows that smoking on the golf course is common for students. 

“People are basically getting cited every day for smoking pot on the golf course,” Jones said. “If you think you’re being sneaky, you’re really not.”

If employees see someone on the golf course when they are closing or find something in a golf cart, Justice said they call OUPD and don’t allow the employees to approach the person.

The center doesn’t have control of the area beyond the river. After it closes, the golf course is considered university property. He said that OUPD does checks every couple hours on the golf course, but it’s mostly unmonitored. 

The after-hours smoking at the golf course doesn’t affect operations, Justice said. Everything is taken down at night so there is nothing out there for people to steal or damage.

OUPD doesn’t consider marijuana enforcement a priority, but officers check on areas during routine patrol and when people complain of of a marijuana smell, Powers said.

Possession of small amounts of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia is considered a minor misdemeanor in Ohio. Arrests have not occurred after marijuana-related incidents on the golf course — officers issue citations to the people they catch, and then they are free to go.

“I did my undergrad and grad work here,” Justice said. “It’s always been known if you’re trying to get yourself caught, you’ll go down to the river to do whatever you want to do.”


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