While synthetic marijuana or spice is a growing problem in schools, officials are still seeing students with the original green, leafy substance.
Several months ago, officers arrested three middle school students for possession of the drug and paraphernalia after one reportedly traded a small baggy of marijuana for a baseball cap.
The boys ranged in age from 11 to 13 years old.
According to a report by Payson Police Officer Michael Hansen, Rim Country Middle School officials learned one of the boys had a bag of marijuana after another student reported the teen had showed it off in class.
When Rim Country Middle School guidance counselor Byron Quinlan asked the 13-year-old if he had the drug, the student removed it from his sock, where he had been hiding it.
The teen told Quinlan he had received it from another student, who said he would give him the baggy of marijuana for his hat. The boys made the swap in the school library while they were working on a project, according to the police report.
The teen said he only bought the marijuana because he was curious, but never intended to smoke it and had never smoked marijuana before.
A drug test later tested negative for the drug in the teen’s system.
Hanson then questioned the 13-year-old who had reportedly traded the drug for the hat. The teen said he found the marijuana on the ground while walking to school.
Although the boy admitted he had smoked marijuana before, he denied a homemade pipe found in his backpack was his.
The teen said the pipe had come from another student, an 11-year-old.
Hansen questioned the 11-year-old, who said the pipe belonged to a friend.
Hansen asked the Gila County Attorney’s Office to review the case for charges against the boys, including possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Quinlan said such incidents are not common at the middle school, but do happen throughout the district.
“It is rare, in a sense, but unfortunately we have seen it throughout the district,” Quinlan said. “It is sad that they get involved with that kind of stuff so early.”
At the high school, administrators have suspended a handful of students in the past two months for possession of spice or potpourri.