Massachusetts Colleges Say No To Medical Marijuana
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 08/06/2014 in Medical Marijuana News
Location: Massachusetts | Source: Enterprise News
Massachusetts – Even though Massachusetts voters legalized medical marijuana over a year ago, college students with doctor approved recommendations will not be permitted to use or store their medication on campus.
College institutions across the state including nationally respected Curry College, Bridgewater State University, University of Massachusetts Boston, and Harvard University have all issued statements saying they will prohibit medical marijuana on campus. These statements come from colleges in an attempt to stay compliant with federal law that still classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 narcotic. Specifically representatives state that important federal money, including student financial aid, would be at risk if they allowed students with valid recommendations from using marijuana on their campuses.
One institution in particular, Bridgewater State University, has received numerous calls from students inquiring about the policies regarding personal use medical marijuana. “We’ve had some inquires about it,” Police Chief David Tilinghast told Enterprise News. Chief Tilinghast was fast to reiterate that making exemptions for individual students would be risky business. According to Bridgewater State University’s police department website, the school must follow the Federal Controlled Substances Act, the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act and the Drug Free Workplace Act. Furthermore it outlines that any individual found in possession of medical marijuana will be cited under state statutes or federally prosecuted in addition to facing university disciplinary action.
In Quincy, a town with a local medical marijuana clinic, Eastern Nazarene College has openly admitted that it is navigating the slippery slope of medical marijuana use on campus and has yet to develop an official policy. “As this is a new issue here in Massachusetts, we have reached out to similar institutions in other parts of the country for insight into how they have addressed this issue,” the college’s Vice President of Student Development and Retention. While seeking the advice of other institutions is a path schools like Eastern Nazarene have taken so far, no universities or colleges have contacted the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to seek legal advice or counsel regarding the topic. “The campuses would only be speculating…” said Department Commissioner Katy Abel in regards to universities fear of losing funding.
So far nobody at the United States Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration or the Department of Education has commented saying whether a school would be revoked funding if it made exceptions for medical marijuana use on its campus.
According to a report issued by the national organization Students for Sensible Drug Policy “the Department of Education has never denied federal funds to any institute of higher education as a result of policy change”, it cites the passage of more than 100 medical amnesty policies across the United States universities to support this claim.
A case outlining an example of such policy was aired in a 2012 National Public Radio report by Susan Sharon. In her report she outlined one student’s decision to withdraw from the University of Maine after suffering from an anxiety and joint disorder developed while serving abroad in Afghanistan. The specific reason for the students withdraw from the University was because he was forbidden from using his doctor recommended medical marijuana while living on campus.
University of California Law Professor and drug policy expert Mark Kleiman said he personally doubts that federal funding for universities will be at risk; “I don’t see any prospect that the university federal funding would be damaged if they made an exemption for students citing medical marijuana.” When asked why he believes the schools are banning cannabis on campus he said, “Bureaucrats do what bureaucrats do. The obvious answer when you’re asked a question is ‘no’.”