In early December, Brunswick Police Department (BPD) and Bowdoin’s Office of Safety and Security executed the arrest of an alleged marijuana dealer suspected of selling to multiple Bowdoin students. The BPD announced the arrest, which took place on Pine Street close to Bowdoin housing, on January 22, according to an article published in the Bangor Daily News. 

Justin Elwell, a resident of Bath, had been selling marijuana on campus for years, the Bangor Daily News alleged. The original investigation commenced several months ago after Randy Nichols, director of safety and security, brought the matter to the attention of BPD and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA). 

According to the Bangor Daily News, the MDEA seized half an ounce of marijuana upon Elwell’s arrest. Sofar, several students have been identified for buying drugs from Elwell, however they will not face charges from the BPD.

For Elwell, however, “the decision on charges is ultimately made by the [District Attorney’s] office and not us,” said Commander of Support Services for the Brunswick Police Department Captain Mark Waltz.

At this point in the case, Waltz believes all students involved with Elwell have been identified. 
“I don’t believe any further charges are coming, although I cannot speak to what the College may or may not do,” he added.

In regards to the College, Waltz hopes that the arrest of Elwell, and subsequent charges, will reduce drug use on campus.

“Many factors go into a student’s decision to use drugs,” said Waltz. “Probably the most significant implication for a student using drugs is that even a conviction for drug possession makes a student ineligible for federal student aid.”

Although what punishment these students will receive from Bowdoin is unknown, official campus policy states that, “Students whose illegal drug use comes to the attention of the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will generally be referred to the Counseling Service or another drug treatment program. Depending on the circumstances, the student may also be subject to disciplinary action.”

Waltz, a Bowdoin alum himself, said that whilst he cannot address the problem of drug abuse at Bowdoin, he can speak for the rising use of marijuana in today’s society. 

“In society, in general, with the medical marijuana crowd and the push to legalize, usage has less of a social stigma and seems to be increasing,” he said. “Marijuana use does have consequences for learning, as it takes away one’s drive to succeed. We’re giving our youth the wrong message encouraging it’s use for medical purposes and attempting to legalize it.”

Edtior's note: A previous version of this article erroneously stated that Captain Waltz said that students involved with buying drugs from Elwell would be punished by Bowdoin College. Waltz did not say this and the article has been updated to reflect this fact.