The polls have closed and doing so brought a change in the states of Washington and Colorado. These two states have passed laws allowing people who are 21 and older to legally possess a maximum of one ounce of marijuana.
Jamel Colvin, an Eastern Michigan University senior, said, “I think marijuana should be legalized [in Michigan], so they can tax it, but also regulated so they can put all the stuff they put on cigarettes on it.”
Exit polling in Washington and Colorado showed a substantial amount of support for the marijuana laws from young voters. Even though a majority of the younger voters supported the passing of the laws, many universities still do not allow students to be in possession of or smoke marijuana on campus. In some cases, doing so could lead to expulsion or some other form of punishment.
The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act requires that any university receiving federal funding must have a program to prevent the use of illicit drugs by students and employees. Since the use and possession of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, universities in Washington and Colorado that allow the use of marijuana on campus will lose federal funding for their school.
The NCAA prohibits student-athletes from consuming drugs, including marijuana. Also, numerous college dormitory contracts ban the possession and usage of drugs and alcohol. There are even some universities that have student-run movements working to ban smoking even outside of campus.
“I don’t think marijuana belongs on college campuses,” said EMU senior Matt Koehler.
Even though marijuana has become legal in Washington and Colorado, many colleges choose to keep prohibiting the use of marijuana on campus.
EMU senior Eric Miner said, “I think it’s the college’s right to not allow things of their choosing like that. I’m pretty sure Eastern doesn’t allow concealed pistols even if you have a carry permit.”
With the legalization of marijuana in these states, some students feel as though they should be allowed to use marijuana on campus.
“Colleges should be able to limit the presence of marijuana on campus, but they can’t outlaw it like smoking. You can’t smoke in or right next to buildings and you can’t drink certain places even if you’re of age,” Colvin said.
Financial analysts say taxing marijuana and setting up licensing schemes, processors and retail stores can bring the states tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year. However, the law passed is fraught with complications, as one can see when dealing with colleges.
Though the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008 allows patients to possess and consume limited amounts of marijuana for certain medical conditions, EMU’s policy does not permit the usage or possession of marijuana on campus due to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act amendment of 1989.
However, the university’s Residential Life and Residential Services will grant a contract release, basically letting the student break their lease, for students who plan to use medical marijuana with valid documentation.