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Student Handbook
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Public Safety
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Alcohol and Drug Policy

It is illegal in New York State for persons under 21 years of age to possess alcoholic beverages with the intent to consume.

Rensselaer’s position on alcohol and illegal drugs is explicitly detailed in the publication Rensselaer Alcohol and Other Drug Policy and the brochure Alcohol and Other Drug Education and Prevention Program.

This policy specifically states that “ ...Rensselaer will not disregard the law and will not shield individuals from the legal consequences of their actions should they violate the law. In addition, individuals who have violated the law are also subject to disciplinary action. Students will be disciplined according to the Student Handbook, faculty according to the Handbook for Academic Staff, and staff according to the Human Resources and Institute Diversity Policy Manual.”

Federal Drug Possession Penalties

Persons convicted for the first time on federal charges of possessing any controlled substance face up to one year in prison and a mandatory fine of no less than $1,000 up to a maximum of $100,000.

Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties

Persons convicted on federal charges of drug trafficking within 1,000 feet of a university face prison terms and fines that are twice as high as the regular penalties for the offense, with a mandatory prison sentence of at least one year.

New York State Penal Law

Persons who unlawfully possess marijuana face fines of up to $100. Subsequent violations can result in fines of up to $250 and/or imprisonment for up to 15 days. Selling more than 16 ounces of marijuana is a class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Persons who unlawfully possess small amounts of a controlled substance commit a class A misdemeanor that could result in a fine of $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail. Examples of these controlled substances are cocaine, LSD, PCP, hallucinogenic substances, stimulants, and narcotics.

Violations of all other possession and sale laws pertaining to controlled substances are felonies. Persons who commit these crimes face sentences of up to life in prison.

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