Pot legalization no free ride to smoke on campus

Associated Press Modified: November 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012
Advertisement
;

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Young voters helped pass laws legalizing marijuana in Washington and Colorado, but many still won't be able to light up.

Most universities have codes of conduct banning marijuana use, and they get millions of dollars in funding from the federal government, which still considers pot illegal.

With the money comes a requirement for a drug-free campus, and the threat of expulsion for students using pot in the dorms.

"Everything we've seen is that nothing changes for us," said Darin Watkins, a spokesman for Washington State University in Pullman.

So despite college cultures that include pot-smoking demonstrations each year on April 20, students who want to use marijuana will have to do so off campus.

"The first thing you think of when you think of legalized marijuana is college students smoking it," said Anna Marum, a Washington State senior from Kelso, Wash. "It's ironic that all 21-year-olds in Washington can smoke marijuana except for college students."

Voters in November made Washington and Colorado the first states to allow adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and exit polling showed both measures had significant support from younger people. Taxes could bring the states, which can set up licensing schemes for pot growers, processors and retail stores, tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year, financial analysts say.

But the laws are fraught with complications, especially at places like college campuses. At Washington State, students who violate the code face a variety of punishments, up to expulsion, Watkins said. The same is true at the University of Colorado Boulder, where the student code of conduct prohibits possessing, cultivating or consuming illegal drugs.

"If you possess marijuana and are over 21, you still may face discipline under the student code of conduct," University of Colorado police spokesman Ryan Huff said.

Gary Gasseling, deputy chief of the Eastern Washington University police department, said that while they await guidance from the state Liquor Control Board, which is creating rules to govern pot, one thing is clear.

"The drug-free environment is going to remain in place," he said.

Even if conduct codes did not exist, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, another key reason that campuses will remain cannabis-free.

The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act requires that any university receiving federal funds adopt a program to prevent use of illicit drugs by students and employees, much in the same way other federal funding for law enforcement and transportation comes with clauses stipulating that recipients maintain drug-free workplaces.

Washington State, for instance, receives millions in federal research funds each year, which prohibits them from allowing substances illegal under federal law on campus.

| |

Advertisement


Trending Now



AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Former OU coach Sunny Golloway goes off at Auburn
  2. 2
    Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant
  3. 3
    Tulsa World: Missouri’s Frank Haith positioned to become TU’s basketball coach
  4. 4
    Oklahoma football: Peyton Manning stops by Sooners film session
  5. 5
    VIDEO: A look at the Air Jordan XX9 in Thunder colors
+ show more