Student convicted for possessing cannabis

Photo credit: Remi Mathis

A St Andrews student has been fined £200 after admitting to harbouring cannabis in his bedroom in St Salvator’s Hall.

Maxx Greenberg, a second-year philosophy and economics student, pleaded guilty to possessing £140 worth of the Class B drug, which he said was for his own use.

Cupar Sheriff Court heard that on 8 March, 2012, a cleaner of St Salvator’s Hall found the drugs in a paper bag on Mr Greenberg’s bed. She alerted a warden who then informed the police.

The court heard that officers had identified the bag’s contents as 28 grams of cannabis resin. Sheriff Charles Macnair described the quantity of drugs found as “substantial.”

Greenberg’s lawyer, Willie McIntyre, argued that the conviction would tarnish the student’s previously un-blemished record.

He said that it would have serious implications for the 19-year old’s future.

The University’s Code of Practice on Student Appeals, Complaints and Discipline categorises “supplying or consuming controlled drugs on University premises” as an act of “gross misconduct.”

It states that acts of this nature may lead to “formal disciplinary procedures.”

Both the University and Mr Greenberg declined to comment on the case.


  1. Another article by the student newspaper attacking one of it’s own. We have enough locals, lecturers, landlords and councils members attacking students already without our peers attacking us.

    Since when did the saint become Closer magazine….

    Please post proper journalism, and if you have a slow day you could just write yet another review of an event?

    • Why is it unfair for the paper to “attack” a student by writing a story about their criminal offence? Is this not a story about our student body? If it’s so irrelevant then why is it one of the most viewed articles on the Saint’s website? When you read the headline “Student Convicted For Possessing Cannabis”, what exactly did you think the article would be about? You were clearly interested enough to click the link and read the rest of the article.

      Furthermore, why do you think publishing a neutral article about a student’s illegal activity is harsh and yet your direct criticism of a student’s efforts at an extra-curricular is justifiable? Your ethics baffle me.

  2. Glad someone noticed that cannabis is not class A, as the article originally claimed. Seriously, when a straight-edger can spot that kind of mistake, you have to ask what kind of research you’re doing.

    Might I also point out that unless the court rejected his claim that it was for personal use, or there is some separate accusation that he consumed it in his room (as opposed to simply storing it there), then there is nothing to suggest that he was “supplying or consuming controlled drugs on University premises”. I don’t say this to be naive, quite possibly (probably?) he was, but I point this out because it strays away from factual reporting and into the land of exaggeration. Certainly he broke his residence contract (although might I point out bringing illegal drugs into a residence is listed alongside making excessive noise in halls – it’s simply a list of stuff you do *not* do). I certainly doubt the university will have a hard time proving (to itself, which is the wonderfully fair part of university discipline) that the student brought the university’s name into disrepute. But to suggest that the only mention of the word drug in the non-academic misconduct policy might be an indicator of severity is nonsensical when said reference does not refer to anything that has been claimed to happen.

  3. I totally agree with Luc, this is just a)boring b)mean. I think as students we really have more interesting things to do and read… Saint wake up!

  4. Frankly, he’s not the first, and he won’t be the last. Remember someone in New Hall last year complaining that the cleaners confiscated the weed he was growing in his room. When are people going to realise that you can’t do stuff that’s illegal in halls? It’s like, you know, against the law!

  5. Wow, talk about scraping the barrel – this is nothing but deeply petty, poor quality tabloid journalism. I’d like to see you attempt to justify this as in the public interest, but i’m sure everyone reading it is aware it’s merely an attempt to keep your laughably bad publication relevant.

    The St. Andrews community is a small one, and the way in which you’re peddling this story is probably going to be far more damaging to him than the original conviction. Would the BBC publish this? No, because it’s an extremely minor conviction for an extremely minor offense.

    I’ve never met the guy, but I feel worse for him about this story than I do his conviction. It’s sad that The Saint is little more than a Juicy Campus St. Andrews edition.

  6. Clearly the press has never published stories about people being convicted before… Just because the guilty party is a student, that does not excuse his offence and punishment, nor prevent it being reported on.

    And I find it sad that armchair hacks are ready to jump onto the “laughably bad” student publication here. Perhaps they might consider researching and writing news stories instead of slating those who actually do out of bitterness and the assumption that anything they don’t want to read about translates as bad journalism.

  7. Frankly the idea that The Saint shouldn’t report this because it’s “bad for the student” is ridiculous. What is bad for the student is being caught in possession of quite a bit of cannabis. What is even worse for him is that the police found him out.

    To set a precedent that The Saint shouldn’t report on this (by the way actually it seems to be a pretty factual article to me – i.e. there’s no witch hunt here) is quite honestly dangerous. The press shouldn’t report stuff that looks bad for people should it not… I look forward to the next time a journalist happens across an MP who uses his expense account to pay for his moat and decides that…well…it would look bad for the MP wouldn’t it.

    Get a grip – I appreciate that those with view to the contrary probably know the guy and feel bad for him being busted for “a bit of weed” – but that’s his/your choice and it’s no secret that its a drug that remains illegal in the UK (rightly or wrongly), he was caught with it, it’s now a news story – sorry everyone that’s a fact of life.

    Incidentally, all other (decent) local press will be reporting this in the court round-up – you know why? Because it’s the most clear case of public interest going. If you don’t understand Leveson chat please do us all a favour and don’t try and quote it.

    Yes, The Saint is a student newspaper, in that it’s run by students, and read, in the main, by students. It is not the university nor the union’s PR office.

  8. “Get a grip”, seriously? This is what passes for news in this town? Please explain to me how it’s dangerous not to report some poor guy being busted for weed possession. God forbid people consume this non-physically-addictive, impossible-to-OD-on drug. How is it possibly in the public interest to name this guy on the most prominent student website in this town, thus making it a near certainty that a google search of his name will forever be associated with his indiscretion.

    In any other university town in the UK, this is not news. The fact that nothing ever happens here does not elevate trivialities to the level of news. Since this ‘newspaper’ is run by students, for students as you say, that makes this article all the more pointless. Because students don’t really care if some guy got busted with weed. Even the Stand wouldn’t publish this, because it’s not vaguely interesting. It’s juvenile and pointless. You’ve gone and ruined someone’s life–are you pleased?

  9. In my opinion, the problem with publishing an article condemning a student convicted for a drug crime stems from the lack of consistency. Let me get the obvious out of the way. Yes, possession of an ounce of weed is certainly a crime in the UK. And yes, to be caught on university property is pretty damning as well. But does a student committing a crime in St Andrews necessarily constitute material for the Saint? If so, why have I never seen an article chastising students for the various other crimes committed in town? To be clear, I’m not implying that St Andrews is by any means Gotham-esque crime ridden city but there certainly are other crimes committed by students within town lines. For example, I can draw to mind at least three violent offences committed by students, usually drunk, in town within the last year that were conspicuously absent from the Saint. And no I’m not just making this up to defend drug users, I’m sure many of you can think of at least one person who been arrested after a fight outside the union or Vic. So to me, this article begs the question: ‘Why this crime?’

  10. To be honest the main reason I suspect that this has made the news is that it’s gone to court. Same story with the pigeon head guy and idiot who attacked the Israeli flag. The reason the drunken scuffles outside the Vic don’t make it is because they’re an £80 public order fine the following morning and a ‘let’s not see you again.’

    To be clear, I’m about as undecided as to the whole debate about the legalization of cannabis as you can get, but that’s frankly a non issue. No one is ruining his life here, if that’s happened, unfortunately it’s entirely his own doing. The drug offence on his permanent record will, I suspect, be far more damning than a 200 word report in years to come. Anyone who thinks that this shouldn’t be the case (and I am exaggerating to play devils advocate to an extent, I don’t necessarily think that is fair that this guy will have a permanent record now for what he’s done) should write to their mp and lobby the to amend the law.

  11. Maybe you should cast a glance across other student newspapers, from York the Nouse –, maybe cast your eyes across Palatinate from Durham – and from Cambridge – See many articles attacking students?

    No one seems to think it’s ok to smear your peers, all in much larger communities than our own.

    Legal, illegal that’s for others to decide but if we as a small student body can’t at least feel enough mercy to let people deal with private problems privately then who can we trust?

  12. Luc, allow me to first contend your suggestion that this article is ‘attacking students’. I fear you have conflated the purpose of a PR office and a newspaper. Nor do I believe you fully understand the definition of attack, based on your appraisal of the piece. It is a straight article which confronts the facts of the case and reports them in an impartial manner, how that is tantamount to an attack I do not know. Moreover, this is not a private problem. The culprit has been tried and the result of that trial is, and should be, public information. Your warped and almost idealistic image of what a newspaper should be has somewhat clouded your judgement. I can only refer you to the many publications that report many similar cases in a very similar way. Good luck with your journalistic re-education. I wish you all the best.


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