Medical marijuana: Not on campus, OU, OSU say

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Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma are telling students that even if they become licensed medical marijuana patients in the state’s new legal program, they may not possess or use marijuana on campus.

According to a joint news release from OSU and OU, it is because the schools receive federal funding that they must ban marijuana, still an illegal drug at the federal level, even for state-sanctioned patients.

“The two institutions are legally bound to comply with the Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which mandates the implementation of drug prevention programs and prohibits the use of illegal drugs on campus or at University-sponsored events and activities,” the news release states. “The universities must also comply with the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act … (and) the Federal Controlled Substances Act, which criminalizes the growth and use of marijuana.”

State Question 788 went into effect July 26, setting up a legal framework for patients to treat ailments with marijuana upon a physician’s recommendation.

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The law change in Oklahoma prompted OSU and OU officials to announce that they will adopt “policies prohibiting the unlawful use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs, including marijuana.”

OSU and OU students would not be permitted to grow marijuana on campus, even if they have a patient license and live on campus; the law allows for licensees to cultivate their own marijuana on property they own or for which they have landlord permission.

“Even with the evolving state law permitting marijuana use for medical reasons, it is important for students and employees to know they cannot consume, smoke or possess marijuana on campus even though they might have a card or prescription permitting them to do so,” the release states.

As of now, the state’s medical marijuana law does not prohibit the use or possession of marijuana on a college campus, so any students or others found in violation of the universities’ policy would not be arrested on state charges.

A violation most likely would result in the patient’s facing disciplinary or administrative sanctions from OSU or OU, not criminal charges.

In Arizona, lawmakers tried to amend that state’s medical marijuana law to create a list of places, including college campuses, where it would be unlawful for patients to be in possession of marijuana.

That amendment was struck down by the state’s high court as unconstitutional after an Arizona State University student sued.

In Colorado, one state university addressed the issue by letting first-year students who hold a medical marijuana card be exempt from a rule barring them from living off-campus.


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