Editorial: A smoky line

From the time it was authored to after it received Gov. Brewer’s stamp of approval, Prop 203: The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act continues to be the source of debate and speculation among Arizonans and policymakers alike.

Even now, after wading through all of the red tape, declaring ourselves a consistent champion of states’ rights and getting the green light to go ahead and begin licensing dispensaries, Prop 203 continues to spark conversations and weave its way into the fabric of state policies and procedures. And now, almost inevitably, a question arises yet again: Should cardholders be allowed to take their prescriptions on a college campus? To state it simply, should the use of medical marijuana be permitted on campus now that it is legal? A student living in Hassayampa Village recently found out the answer, at least for now.

As you read in The State Press, under the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, any funding, grant or financial assistance will not be given to institutions of higher education that do not implement a drug-free policy. And let’s not forget, marijuana — in any form — is still illegal under federal law and still considered a “drug” and a controlled substance. ASU reviewed the policies and procedures in regard to the possession of marijuana on University property after Proposition 203 was passed.

“ASU will continue to prohibit the possession and or use of marijuana on campus for any purpose,” according to a statement from University Housing.

So when a “drug” becomes a “medicine,” do we act accordingly? Certainly there is the argument that someone prescribed Adderall, which contains amphetamines, would never be on the receiving end of possession charges for “taking their medication” on campus.

To that end, smoking of any kind is forbidden in all University infrastructure. From dorms to labs to lecture halls, lighting up — a cigarette or a spliff — will result in disciplinary action from the University. But that’s where the authority ends. If the offender carries a medical marijuana card and is consuming legally obtained marijuana, the jurisdiction of ASU Police only extends as far as contacting University officials.

This brings back the argument from the Drug-Free Schools and Communities act and university incentive. Clearly, allowing the consumption of medical marijuana would be in violation of the aforementioned Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. Reiterated, if ASU allows marijuana on campus, it will no longer receive financial assistance from the federal government.

Even relating this to using alcohol on campus despite ASU’s status as a “dry school” would be incorrect. Alcohol — by any definition — is a drug. Even if you’re of legal age, this becomes irrelevant to school policy.

However, when the only barrier to usage is a state-issued license prescribed by a physician, and “offenders” aren’t really breaking any laws, where will the University draw the line?


Want to join the conversation? Send an email to opiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

Follow The State Press on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.