Schools and Marijuana: Allowed or Banned?
As there might be some confusion amongst students about the legalization of recreational weed and thus, smoking on campus, the answer is quite clear; no, it is not allowed.
The US Legal System still stands that federal law overrides state law. Colleges are recipients of federal funds for one, and independent of state rules, universities and colleges have to abide to the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act.
Even though voters approved the ballot for Recreational use of Marijuana for people 21 years and older, universities have to establish their rules with respect to federal law. But it doesn’t mean there is no unclearness about the matter. How far does off campus mean? For instance, is off campus sororities and fraternities, as well as off-campus housing included? Does it also include students that are supported with federal loans or grants?
For a school like Harvard in Massachusetts, legalization for recreational use is a welcoming thought. Harvard is known for heavy alcohol abuse and even sexual assault reports, and many students believe legalizing marijuana will help to improve the campus’ social scene. They believe that if the campus is more weed-prone as to alcohol-prone, a safer environment will be created. Notwithstanding, college authorities still stressed that no weed would be allowed on campus.
In Oregon, administrators deal with the same issues. They make it clear that students on Campus are not allowed to smoke pot because of the implication of federal law where it is seen as illegal. The Oregon State University says that off-campus sororities and fraternities will be subject to the same rules that apply on campus, but they are reviewing the rules to see how it would apply to housing not sanctioned by the university.
The state of Colorado says that they have not really experienced any problems since legalization of recreational marijuana as the majority of their students are under 21. The only change according to a spokesperson at the University of Colorado is that campus police can’t give a citation anymore to students older than 21 carrying less than an ounce of the green stuff. They did however, adjust their policies on housing somewhat to allow students that need medical marijuana to live on campus.
The biggest obstacle they experienced so far are with administrators that focus on prevention and use of drugs, especially where marijuana is still seen by federal law as one of the most dangerous drugs. It is hard to speak to students about the safe using of drugs, where marijuana is legalized but still seen as dangerous drug by federal law.
The recent voting in California to permit the recreational use of marijuana for smoking and personal growing also will not be allowed on any campus. Stanford University for one said that no student would be able to smoke on campus. They will also not be allowed to grow or possess marijuana on campus at all. That includes off-campus housing.
Medical Marijuana on Campus
Since the legalization of Medical Marijuana, this is one of the toughest issues to crack. The administrators are not sure whether they should allow students who legally are authorized to use marijuana for medicinal purposes to have it on campus or not. One-by- one the states are passing laws permitting students to have their medical marijuana with them. In November, 2016, a school in New Jersey was the first to allow a student that suffers with autism and epilepsy to have edible medical marijuana at school.
In the state of Maine, law rules that students with a legal certificate to use marijuana for medicinal purposes may attend school when they have to use medical marijuana on campus during school hours. Students under 18 need a written letter from their doctor that they need medical marijuana, but they can’t have it on campus in smoke form, only in oils or tablet form.
Conclusion- It is quite clear, as it is with so many cases involving marijuana, recreational or medical, that there is still a lot of work to be done. The conflict between federal and state law is ever present and until federal law changes on how it views marijuana, it will always be a hard road.
What is clear without doubt is that on any university of college campus, recreational marijuana in no form is allowed. Medical marijuana, with permission in states where marijuana for medical use is approved, will be permitted.
For students attending schools and where they are under 18 years of age, some states allow medicinal use on campus.
Like, as with many other cases, it is the responsibility of the user to be clear with the application of the law in each state where marijuana is legal, for recreational or medicinal purposes.
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