Offices & Services

Student Handbook

Policy Statement and Federal, State and Local Laws/Penalties

Policy Statement on Substance Abuse

The College is committed to fostering an environment free of drug and alcohol abuse through

(1) education and counseling programs, and

(2) the prohibition of illegal or imprudent use of drugs or alcohol.

The College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession and use of controlled substances. Controlled substances include, but are not limited to: narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, anabolic steroids and misused prescription or legal drugs or alcohol. As used in this policy, the words “substance” and “controlled substance” include alcoholic beverages. Those who use controlled substances or illicitly use or abuse legal substances, including but not limited to alcohol, are in violation of the law and of Washington College policy. Compliance with this policy is a condition of enrollment at the College. All Washington College students are expected to be familiar with and abide by the principles and details of this policy. This policy will be reviewed at least biennially to assess its effectiveness, to implement appropriate changes and to ensure that the disciplinary sanctions discussed are consistently enforced.

The Washington College policy on alcohol and other drugs exists within the context of local, state, and federal laws. The regulations contained in this policy are designed to comply with all applicable Chestertown and Kent County ordinances and the laws of Maryland and the United States, including the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. The illegal use and abuse of alcohol or prescription drugs and/or use of illicit drugs, violates the Washington College community standards and, when reported, will be handled in a serious manner.

Maryland State Laws and Penalties

  • It is illegal in the state of Maryland for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase, possess or drink alcohol.
  • It is illegal for a person under 21 to falsify or misrepresent his or her age to obtain alcohol, or to possess alcoholic beverages with the intent to consume.
  • It is illegal to purchase or otherwise supply alcohol to individuals who are under the age 21.
  • Penalties for the above violations are a $500 fine for the first offense, and up to a $1000 fine for repeat offenses.

In the state of Maryland, a person may not drive or attempt to drive any vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol. In Maryland, drivers are considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or higher.  An underage drinker with a BAC of .02 (approximately one drink) may be charged with a violation of restricted license, which will result in a suspension of the driver’s license. The driver may also face a fine of up to $500. An individual can still be charged with a violation despite possession of an out-of-state driver’s license.

In Maryland, a defendant in possession of marijuana is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000.  However, pursuant to Chapters 193 and 194 of 2012, a person in possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is subject to a reduced penalty of imprisonment for up to 90 days and/or a maximum fine of $500.

The use or possession of a controlled dangerous substance other than marijuana is a misdemeanor with maximum criminal penalties of four years imprisonment and/or a $25,000 fine.

Federal Controlled Dangerous Substances/Illegal Drug Laws and Penalties

Federal law states that it is unlawful for any person, knowingly or intentionally, to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a controlled substance. 

The penalties increase if the possession includes intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense a controlled substance, especially if done near a public or private elementary, vocational or secondary school, or a public or private college or university. Any person who violates this law shall also be liable to the U.S. government for an amount up to $10,000 in civil penalties.

It is also unlawful to drive while under the influence of any Controlled Dangerous Substance, whether legal or illegal (prescribed or unlawfully obtained.) An individual can be charged with a violation despite possession of an out-of-state driver’s license. Violations may result in suspension of the driver’s license.

College Alcohol and Other Drugs Policies

Washington College has several policies addressing the use of alcohol and other drugs. In addition to federal, state, and local laws, students are required to comply with College policies pertaining to alcohol use on campus.

Alcohol Policy

Students are required to abide by all Maryland and Kent County laws and Washington College regulations regarding the use of alcohol. These rules specify that persons under 21 years of age are prohibited from possessing or consuming any alcoholic beverage at Washington College.

Students who are 21 years of age or older may possess and consume alcohol on campus in accordance with the following:

  • Alcohol may be consumed only within assigned rooms or suites. Open containers of alcohol are prohibited in common spaces, such as hallways and lounges, and in public areas, such as lobbies or outdoors.
  • Students who possess alcohol on campus are responsible for its legal and responsible use. This includes taking reasonable precautions to prevent the possession of alcohol by underage students and guests.
  • Kegs and other mechanisms or devices that permit purchase, storage, and distribution of alcohol in bulk quantities or that allow unregulated access to alcohol by any means, are prohibited.
  • Students may not sell or distribute alcohol anywhere on campus. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, cash bars, events to which admission tickets are sold or for which fees are charged, either by the event or for a period of time (e.g., entertainment charge or annual dues), entitling the purchase access to an open bar, and parties at which alcoholic beverages are served and for which contributions or donations to offset the costs of the party are sought.
  • College funds allocated for hall activities and any college sponsored programming may not include alcohol.
  • Students are responsible for the behavior of their guests, including any violation of policy.
  • Students found to be in an intoxicated state on campus may be subject to mandatory medical or psychological intervention as well as appropriate disciplinary action (except as outlined in the Medical Amnesty Policy section found below).

Marijuana Policy

Marijuana is an illegal substance and is prohibited. Any student, who is found to be in possession of, or using marijuana, will face disciplinary action and possible criminal charges. Water pipes, bongs, hookahs, and other paraphernalia commonly associated with drug use are also prohibited.

Policy for Other Controlled Substances

The possession or use of narcotics and/or other controlled substances without a valid prescription is prohibited. Students are expected to obey federal and state laws regarding the use, sale, and distribution of controlled substances.

Parent or Guardian Notification

To provide support or assistance to students, the College may choose to notify parents or legal guardians of students under the age of 21 who have violated the alcohol or drugs policies. This decision will be made according to the professional judgment of appropriate staff and will be consistent with the application of privacy laws. The primary goal of notifying parents or legal guardians is to promote the health and well-being of the community and the individual student.