Not 'everyone is doing it'
The expert, dealer and cop weigh in on the University's drug culture
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012 14:04
Yet, the student said what she does is really simple: dealing an ounce of marijuana a week and splitting the $100 profit with her roommate.
“It’s the easiest money-making scheme,” she said. “It’s no wonder the government doesn’t want us selling drugs; we are making all the money.”
“Fifty dollars: it helps,” she said. “You can go, ‘Ok, now I have money for groceries.’”
The sophomore student sells mostly to friends and friends of friends in a low-key environment she deems “not a big deal.”
The student said she has been thinking lately that drug dealing is not worth the risk because it makes her nervous, but said she would finish out the semester.
There are a few dealers left in her dorm, but most quit because they felt they weren’t making enough money, she said.
Officer Skyler Genest of UVM Police Services is a drug recognition expert who has dealt with students smoking on campus for the past seven years.
Marijuana is statistically the No. 1 drug UVM police deal with other than alcohol and absolutely is a problem, Genest said.
“It isn’t an exaggeration to say I’ve confiscated over 500 bongs,” he said.
Genest said he has taken bongs in many shapes and sizes. Memorable ones include a bong shaped like Yoda and another that was three feet tall, costing up to $700.
On a typical Friday or Saturday night, he and other officers drive and walk throughout campus on the lookout for events that could be dangerous for students.
Genest said he has been around long enough to know the general “hot spots” where students go to smoke on campus.
Police tend to “keep an eye on” the amphitheater, pine grove on Redstone campus and other similar locations, he said.
When busting a party April 6 with 34 people in a suite-style dorm room, Genest was obliged to do a drug search when he found a bong sitting on the table.
Although he did not uncover any marijuana, Genest did confiscate two bongs, a water pipe and a marijuana vaporizer during his search.
After years on the job, Genest said he is now able to classify the people he comes across as certain types of drug users.
In this case, Genest guessed the student was a social drug user because he used his paraphernalia as party implements such as a bong in the shape of a gas mask, which both Genest and the student dubbed “a conversation starter.”
The most common way to find drug dealers is to happen upon them, Genest said. However, officers also get intel on students doing drugs when bigger task forces like the DEA become involved.
If officers happen upon a drug dealer on campus, it is often a student selling smaller amounts of marijuana or other drugs, and some police are interested in finding larger operations, Genest said.
“We mollify the sentence if they are willing to give information as to where they got the drugs,” he said.
Genest said he believes marijuana is a “gateway drug” after he interviewed individuals on drug charges in Arizona and almost all of the convicts said they had started out smoking marijuana.
“I hate to be cliché and catchphrase, but there’s some truth in it,” he said.