Florida University Student Suspended from First Football Game of the Season for Marijuana Possession

A promising young athlete in his freshman year for the Florida Gators, James Robinson, has been suspended for the first game of the season for marijuana possession. It is understandable that a violation of university rules should result in a penalty, and the student should have known better, especially considering he had already been in trouble for the same offense while visiting another school.

A debate has recently come up about the NCAA’s policies on marijuana possession and other associated cannabis violations. The NFL began researching the medical value of cannabis this summer suggesting that taking another look at their policies might be warranted. If that is the case, then why would it not be logical for colleges to revisit their own rules? Obviously, Mr. Robinson is an elite athlete, granted he is still in need of much more tutelage and maturation, but the assumptions that marijuana use results in a lack of motivation and unhealthiness is plainly proved false by any athlete competing at a high level that also consumes cannabis. If research confirms the medical value of cannabis, will businesses, cannabis opponents and organized sports look at marijuana from a new perspective? Will that result in a shift in general policies concerning cannabis use?

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —  Florida coach Jim McElwain confirmed Monday that freshman wide receiver James Robinson joined the long list of players suspended for the season opener against Michigan after being cited for marijuana possession last week.

“[I] thought that was perfectly obvious,” McElwain said. “… Of course not. Come on.”

As was first reported by Jacksonville’s First Coast News, citing a University Police Department report, a resident assistant was walking outside of the Keys residential complex on campus around 12:30 a.m. Monday and smelled a “strong odor of burnt cannabis emanating in the air” and then called University Police.

Once police entered the room, in which both Robinson and linebacker Ventrell Miller were identified, “officers found a cloud of smoke and a styrofoam cup that police say appeared to be used as an ash tray,” First Coast News reported.

“It’s always disappointing,” McElwain said. “That’s part of growing up. That’s part of making choices and understanding based on those choices really determines what’s going to happen with you. Yet, like I said, I’m not giving up on him.”

Robinson, a 4-star signee from Lakeland, Fla., has had off-the-field trouble that predates his arrival at Florida. He was cited for marijuana possession during his visit at Ohio State in January. McElwain fought for Robinson to be able to sign and enroll at Florida, despite the issue and pushback from university administration. Robinson finally enrolled on Aug. 4.

Miller was already one of seven players suspended for reportedly misusing school funds, a group that is headlined by junior wide receiver Antonio Callaway. None of those seven players have been with the team since the suspension was announced. Robinson, however, practiced with the team on Tuesday and Wednesday after being served the citation.

In addition to the suspended players, McElwain said defensive back C.J. McWilliams is out and tight end Kemore Gamble (foot) is “highly questionable. Linebacker Kylan Johnson, a projected starter, is “iffy” for the game on Saturday, but McElwain said he anticipates Johnson starting.

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