College Medical Marijuana Policy Leaves Many Students Unable to Legally Consume

college blogWhat’s a medical marijuana card-holding college student to do when they are required to live in on-campus housing but their medicine is banned from the premises?

Apparently, choose between suffering from their illness or face disciplinary action, at least according to the majority of University policy.

In Washington DC, marijuana is legal to for those over the age of  21 to possess, transfer (exchange with no currency involved), and grow up to two ounces of marijuana in their homes and available to buy from a dispensary for medical use per a doctor’s recommendation. However, given its treatment on college campuses in the area, you would have no idea.

For example, at American University, their code for student conduct clearly states the punishable offenses for “alcohol and illegal drugs” (despite the fact that cannabis has been legalized for medical and recreational use for adults 21+) include:

  • To use or possess any illegal drug (including medical marijuana) or drug paraphernalia in the residence halls.
  • To sell, manufacture, or distribute any illegal drug (including medical marijuana) or drug paraphernalia in the residence halls.
  • To knowingly and voluntarily be in the presence of any illegal drug (including medical marijuana) or drug paraphernalia in the residence halls.

At The George Washington University, their policy on medical marijuana is less clear. Their policy for medical marijuana is not listed in their Code for Student Conduct, and when asked for clarification on the matter, the administration declined to respond.

The code for student conduct does say, however, that students caught using, possessing, and distributing marijuana face a minimum $50 fine, mandatory drug education classes, and possible eviction from housing. If there’s an intent to distribute, students face suspension or expulsion.

Alcohol penalties at the school, on the other hand, are significantly less harsh. The penalty for consumption and possession is parental notification, and in subsequent offenses, students could face a possible fine or alcohol education classes.  

In addition to this, GW provides an Alcohol Medical Amnesty Policy, wherein underage, intoxicated students can receive a penalty-free ride to the hospital in a student-run ambulance for their first offense. Subsequent offenses receive harsher penalties each time, though it takes much longer for a student to reach serious disciplinary action than for marijuana users, who are harshly penalized for their first time.

So why do these schools remain so behind the times? Why is marijuana classified so much more harshly than alcohol– which kills over 1800 students per year and is heavily associated with sexual assault?

The answer comes down to the same reason a college makes any decision: funding.

According to the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 (that’s right, 1989), the use of “drugs” (a vague term that somehow excludes alcohol and caffeine) must be disallowed by schools, universities, and colleges. If they fail to comply, they become ineligible for federal funding.

Until we can overcome the pervasive stereotype of cannabis users as sluggish, lazy, stupid, and unconcerned, it looks like students will have to continue to live in the impossible bind between relieving their illnesses and violating school policy.  


18 thoughts

  1. The whole argument of why cannabis should remain illegal is fraught with disinformation, direct lies, and absurd falsehoods.

    Cannabis isn’t addictive in the least,
    and cannabis is not damaging to self nor society,

    And while these 2 (alcohol cigarettes) are common-
    arguing against the legalization of cannabis is illogical.

  2. Here you are, folks,

    Jeff Sessions speaks at Georgetown. As much as speaks about “conduct.”

    Jeff says nothing about what is probably his MOST pressing issue:

    If Jeff Sessions coming after us?

    Is he going to launch a crackdown? Is he coming to get us?

    Sessions made a big speech. Is he coming to get us? he still has not answered OUR question.


  3. There is also another thing students in such a bind can do: learn.

    They can learn the difference between the structure of society, and the facade of society. They can learn the difference between obeying the law, and doing the right thing. They can learn about corrupt corporate influence. They can learn about the difference between facts, and reefer madness. They can learn discernment, and they can learn to give the finger to “The Man,” and one knee to the cops, and to Trump.

    Have a toke and an education!

  4. Until marijuana is descheduled bad federal grants will be the enemy of not only students but the entire scientific process of education itself. Education is challenging ourselves with ideas we may not entirely comprehend or agree with. The scientific process involves peer review, meaning the grants have to award a variety of scientific studies, even if they have opposing views. Thats not how our grants to Universities work. NIDA is required by the CSAct to use our tax dollars to deny the medical efficacy of marijuana. The DEA threatening Federal funding is how Dr. Sue Sisley was fired from the University of Arizona during her FDA trials using marijuana for PTSD. Thankfully, a state grant from the state of Colorado kept her vital research going.
    Then there are private grants to Universitites worry about. In my research to discover whether the Koch brothers, who claim to support marijuana legalization, would support Bonamici’s hemp amendment, I discovered a very disturbing donation of $750,000 to Purdue University. This was disturbing because I couldn’t understand why Purdue was publishing false claims that hemp “required” nitrogen based synthetic fertilizers when in the right climate and soil, hemp can fertilize itself by losing the lower leaves as the fields crowd them out.
    But if we observe how many tons of synthetic fertilizer Koch Industries sells each year, it’s not hard to understand why our Universities get purchased with bad donations and private grants to brainwash our developing agricultural engineers.
    In short, if we want to cut through all the bullshit in politics, click on the Act tab, contact our Congressman, and ask three questions:
    Where are the resources, who owns them, and how are the owners paying to sell their product or service?

  5. This is an interesting dilemma. On one side, I could see where the universities are coming from to some extent, yet I can also see the need for students to have access to their medicine. At the least, I feel as if patients should have access to their medication and in this case, a place to safely administer it. On the other hand, I could see where such things on campuses (not that it’s already there) could be an issue in the eyes of some. Then again, how many prescription pills are floating around campuses? Wondering what others think about this dilemma and what resolutions one might propose to resolve it. Chime in readers! Would love to hear your input!

  6. It is concerning that those people who are charged with educating our citizens are so in need of education themselves regarding cannabis… If anyone is sluggish, lazy, or stupid it is those individuals who are so against the use of cannabis.
    Why do these people continue to believe that the dangerous drugs manufactured in pharmaceutical laboratories are preferrable? My theory is willful ignorance, predjudice, and way too much trust in our federal governments position on this. Another possibility is that they simply comply in order to get federal funding… SAD!

  7. Maybe some violent protests with burning stuff, broken windows, assaults on people and shouting down free speech will work. Hey, it sure stopped Trump didn’t it? LOL!

    You win your battles these days with legal beagles. Sue and sue some more! Get injunctions and drag out the process. Be the water, not the rock.

    1. @ soitgoes,

      You’re an old Troll with a new name.

      The Resistance is kicking Trump’s ass with protests. We stopped Trumpcare three times, didn’t we? That’s Resistance:3, Trump: 0.

      Just try watching football without seeing The Resistance! You can’t! In your face, bitch! Black lives matter!

      If you don’t like it, go crawl back under your slimy rock.

      1. Dain Bramage,
        I don’t think So it Goes was making fun of the resistance, I think he (or she) was being sarcastic that the resistance should try the tactics of a Trump campaign.
        Am I correct on that So it Goes? If so, remember sarcasm is not conveyed so easily through the written word. At least put (sarcasm) in parenthesis.

      2. @ Julian,
        Violence is from the right, not the left. Sounds like more “both sides do it” deceit to me.

      3. Violence can be made with silence. Theres more in what So it Goes doesn’t say than what was said. I’m beginning to think your radar was on target and this troll was trolling after all. Google and Facebook will be the end of us all if we dont legalize first.

      4. We on the left disavow and oppose the violent nutjobs among us; but the right justifies and glorifies their violent nutjobs, and elects them to be fucking Presidents (Trump is a big fan of extrajudicial killings and violence, of any kind) and Congressmen (looking at you, Montana and Greg Gianforte!)

    2. Good advice. If Roger Stone can get paid to recite racist dogma in the contradictory expense of marijuana legalization we can damn sure win a few free speech cases… and have! (NORML, U. Iowa).

      But the federal grants to Universities are beholden to the CSAct, the DEA and Sessions. The only way to change that us not through the courts but Congressional legislation.

      With that said, Im rooting for some marijuana reform out of Washington et al v. Sessions et al. A state majority for mmj and recent decisions like in Massachussets paying damages to employees who were fired for off the job consumption could set a precedent for testing positive for mmj in Universities.

      1. To clarify, I meant “good advice” on suing the $HIT out of prohibition in both the private and government sectors.
        I’m not sure I can endorse that anyone run a campaign like Trump did… that would require caging 7.2 million votes and blaming it on “millions of Mexicans voting illegally.”

  8. Ok, not the best video, but Rosenberg is GONE. Rosenstein might come next, but one thing is clear. The former DEA head is gone.

    Considering his apparent stance on legalization

    Great news.


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