College Weed Laws at Odds with Some State Laws

College Weed Laws at Odds with Some State Laws
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Just because marijuana has been legalized in some states, doesn't mean that it has become legal at colleges in those states. Colleges could face a huge penalty if they are caught infringing on the law.

Due to the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, some college administrators are reluctant to allow marijuana on their campuses, for fear that the government could yank federal funding. Communications Manager of the Marijuana Policy Project Morgan Fox stated "marijuana is much safer than alcohol, and so much less trouble", but he also believes that "regardless of marijuana's legal status, colleges should treat marijuana like they treat alcohol in their own internal policies".

Marijuana was legalized last year in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine, joining Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Washington and the District of Columbia. Even at schools such as The University of California - which is one of the most liberal states in the country and where recreational cannabis is legal - marijuana is banned on campus. There is "no intent to change the policy," either.

The student government at the University of Maryland College Park lobbied for reduced punishments for possessing marijuana to "reflect the state's status as having made it a civil offense in 2014." This would basically mean that anyone 21 or older could be caught with possession of up to 10 grams of pot and just pay a fine, "akin to a speeding ticket." They also called for an end to drug testing, housing termination, suspension and expulsion for students over 21 found with pot or drug paraphernalia.

Those who do not support lifting sanctions, such as the university's health center, claim that there is research that documents the negative academic impact of cannabis use." Furthermore, "other harms associated with the use of marijuana include the development of psychiatric disorders and increased likelihood of other drug use."

Evidence shows that college students "take advantage of more liberal weed laws," such as in Oregon, where students are using more marijuana since it was legalized in 2015. Do you think that higher education institutions should allow the use of marijuana in states where marijuana has been legalized? Why or why not?

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