Police find possible marijuana plants in campus botanical gardens

BY LISA HAIDOSTIAN
Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 20, 2008

A student in a Practical Botany class may have gotten a bit too practical in the greenhouse.

A staff member at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, where the class meets, found 11 "very small plants that appear to be cannabis" in the greenhouse, Department of Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said.

The apparent cannabis was found on a table along with several other plants being grown by students. Police have no suspects.

"We don't know at this point if it was a student in the class or if it was someone else who put the plants there or started the plants or was growing the plants," Brown said.

LSA sophomore Annie Bernstein, who's enrolled in the class of about 80 students, said she didn't think anyone else used the room where students grow plants.

Instructors give students seeds to plant, she said, but they also have the option of bringing their own.

While the greenhouse is large, there isn't much supervision, Bernstein said.

"We're not really closely monitored," she said. "We can grow basically whatever we want."

The greenhouse is only accessible during class hours, according to Bernstein.

"It's not like people are going off and doing their own things secretly - we're all in the same room," she said. "I don't know what time they would do it or when they would do it."

Students will sometimes joke about growing marijuana, but although students are told at the beginning of the semester not to grow anything illegal, the possibility of growing cannabis isn't talked about much. Deep down, though, students know it's a possibility.

"It's kind of the elephant in the room," she said.

The questionable plants are currently undergoing testing, Brown said.

Manufacturing illegal drugs is a felony charge. The penalty if someone is found and convicted is a four year prison sentence and/or a $20,000 fine.