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Would Prop. 19 change how state colleges deal with marijuana?


How would California's controversial ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana use affect the way the state's universities deal with pot on campus?

Would passage of Proposition 19 portend a future in which, as a recent San Gabriel Valley Tribune editorial suggested, businesses are openly selling pot in your child or grandchild's college dormitory?

Administrators at California State University and the University of California say they have not had any "official" high-level conversations about the possible impact of the initiative on university policies. But others have begun to speculate.  

James Lange, coordinator of alcohol and other drug initiatives at San Diego State University, said the measure, if successful, wouldn't change much about the university's prohibition on pot on campus. But it would significantly change the way the university educates students about marijuana, and it could potentially change the way marijuana-related violations on campus are handled.

Under the initiative [PDF], people 21 years and older would be able to possess or grow marijuana for personal use. But San Diego State University would continue to ban marijuana on campus because the federal government will still define marijuana as an illegal drug, and the school is subject to the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, Lange said. That law says any university that receives federal funding "must certify that it has adopted and implemented a program to prevent the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees" or risk losing the federal funding.

University officials could, however, change policy that currently requires police to be involved in every marijuana-related violation, Lange said. Such a change would have to be made at the CSU system level, not the campus level. Other than that, university sanctions for marijuana-related violations would likely remain about the same, he said.

One advocacy group, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, says the measure would bolster the argument that universities in California should treat marijuana violations the same as alcohol violations. The group's national effort to do this has been an uphill battle – what looked like a recent victory at the University of Arkansas was quickly reversed. Even still, advocates are skeptical that they would see changes right away should Proposition 19 pass.

"I think it's unlikely that they'll budge on this issue," said Jon Perri, associate director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. "If anything was going to influence it, it would be Prop. 19. But it wouldn't be something that would happen immediately; it would take some lobbying from students."

Perri also hopes Proposition 19 would mean fewer students in California would lose federal financial aid as a result of drug convictions. Under a provision of the Higher Education Act, students who get a drug conviction while they're receiving federal financial aid may lose future eligibility for the aid – at least temporarily. A 2006 Los Angeles Times article told the story of Cal State University Fullerton student Marisa Garcia, who missed out on a year of federal financial aid after she was busted for possessing a pipe with marijuana residue.

As for campuses' message to students about pot, Lange believes these would need to change significantly. Rather than a simple "Don't use marijuana; it's illegal" approach, the university would need to talk to students about what it means to be a moderate marijuana user, and steer students clear of impaired driving, for example. These kinds of educational programs would be even more important if local municipalities authorize the sale of marijuana near campus.

Lange is actually teaching an online class on the subject, called "Marijuana Prevention in a Legalized Environment" for health professionals across the country.

The university would also have to get up to speed on what exactly the law allows so that it can educate students on potential legal risks. Under the measure, for example, anyone 21 or older who gives marijuana to someone between the ages of 18 and 21 (hello, traditional college population) would face up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

And in case you were wondering, you shouldn't expect to see students legally growing marijuana in their college dorm rooms. Although Proposition 19 allows people 21 and over to grow a small amount pot for personal use, it clearly states that cultivation on rented property depends on approval from the owner – in this case, the university.

"I don't think any dorm – or any university – would allow students to grow their own cannabis in the dorms," Perri said. "I don't see that happening."


Filed under: Higher Ed, Daily Report


Comments are closed for this story.
mjs123's picture
Vote yess on Proposicion 19 and all yess on medical marijuana. Yes on all pot and all illicit drugs. We wantt all Amerikans to smoke pot. Make it readily availeble to all Amerikan people. Good for thhem and their minds. "Everyone says YES on PROP 19 and YES on medical marijuana." They said, “Turn them all suckers into potheads!!! Bwahaha!” “Sooner or later, the world passes you by. China, India, Japan – all these countries are all thinking about new ways to find clean energy,” Obama said.” WHILE THE AMERICANS ARE LOOKING FOR WAYS TO GET HIGH AND HAVE POT AVAILABLE AT THEIR FINGERTIPS. “You saw countries like China, India and Brazil investing heavily in their education systems and in infrastructure … And where we used to be ranked number one, … we now rank number 12,” President Barack Obama said…” “So , slowly all the things that had made us the most productive country on earth were starting to slip away…,” he said.” “People were anxious about the future of the country, he said, “…then you start thinking, well, maybe we’re not going to be the same land of opportunity 20 years from now or 30 years from now as we were.”" The USA WILL BE THE LAND OF POTHEADS AND STONERS.
wmartin46's picture
Legalizing Marijuana Bad Public Policy

Prop.19, the marijuana legalization ballot initiative, is bad public policy because it facilitates the use of a psycho-active narcotic, that can affect their own, and the public’s, safety. Small doses of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) provide stimulation, followed by sedation. Large doses of THC produce a mild hallucinogenic effect, followed by sedation and/or sleep. Additionally, people who use cannabis have an increased risk of psychosis, an effect attributed to the active ingredient Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC). To make matters worse, the potency of marijuana, measured by the presence of its (psycho)active ingredient, THC, has tripled since 1987, according to the figures from the Department of Justice’s National Drug Intelligence Center.

The California SEIU (Service Employees International Union) has endorsed the legalization of marijuana, and by implication--its use. This leads one to believe that the hundreds of thousands of SEUI workers, including many government employees, will now be legally operating light vehicles, heavy equipment, and trains, under the influence of marijuana. A video of some unionized Detroit auto workers “drinking and toking” during their lunch hour has gone viral on Youtube. Rather than being the exception, if marijuana were legal, could frequent daily use not become the norm? Can we look forward to VTA bus drivers, CalTrain engineers and BART operators smoking marijuana on the job?

With about 500,000 yearly traffic accidents in California, resulting in about 3,000 fatalities, do we really want to increase the number of intoxicants that are readily available to drivers on our highways?

Drug (and alcohol use) seems to be considerable in America’s schools (or perhaps by America’s school students would be more accurate), as demonstrated by the CDC’s data about high school drug use:


According to this data, about 20% of students in the US use this drug. Making marijuana legal will increase the access of this drug to people under 21, and will no doubt have deleterious effects on the academic performance of those who use the drug more than infrequently. The public is spending over $1T a year on public education. It would be crazy to see all of that money go up in (marijuana) smoke. Prop.19 would help to further devalue our incredible investment in public education.

Vote NO! on Prop.19.

Dave_K's picture
Prohibition itself is an unregulated system that rewards those who sell or possess more potent forms of the drugs. For example, bootleggers were not fools, rather than sell beer cheaply they would sell whiskey for more money. The risk was the same for a barrel of either. High grade marijuana poses no further risk and is worth more on the black market. Just as people tend to drink less whiskey than they do beer, they smoke less high grade marijuana than they do ditch weed. I am also concerned that some may have an increased risk of developing psychosis. I do understand, however, that the number that actually develops psychosis is small and I don't think that the study that you mention has been replicated. People die of overdose on alcohol and many other drugs. They do not die of overdose on marijuana. Not a single case in 5000 years of use as medicine has been recorded. I share your concern regarding intoxication at work or while driving. People using drugs or alcohol or even possessing drugs or alcohol at work should be fired. I do have a problem, however, with use of a metabolite test to detect marijuana use for those on the job. Metabolite tests do not measure intoxication. They measure metabolites in the body that may persist for 30 days after last use. This punishes people who smoke marijuana not those who are intoxicated on the job. There is not any evidence that I know of to suggest that marijuana use away from work has an impact on one’s productivity. The US Department of Transportation conducted a study a few years ago to compare the use of alcohol on driving and the use of marijuana on driving. The study was conducted in Holland and used American marijuana. They found that even small amounts of alcohol, below that required proving intoxication, produced impairment comparable to marijuana in both driving simulators and real life driving with a researcher. Generally, those who drink and drive become "bulletproof," they tend to drive more rapidly and take more risks. Those who smoke marijuana and drive, however, are aware of impairment and drive more slowly to compensate for their perceived impairment. The impact on driving is nowhere near the problems that are posed by alcohol. It is similar to that experienced when someone drives after taking an over the counter medication. The guy who drives through your neighborhood at 50 mph is likely drunk. The stoner is the one going 10 mph while brushing the Cheetos off his t-shirt. I share your concern regarding the schools. I have worked for over 35 years in the schools. I saw many families devastated by a marijuana arrest. The negative effects of the arrest, trial, and incarceration were far in excess of problems created by the marijuana use itself. You speak as though marijuana use would skyrocket were it to become legal. Marijuana is already the number one cash crop in California and for that matter in the USA. Close to half the population has tried it at one time or another already and the vast majority do not experience devastating consequences. It's not as though most anyone who wants it can't get it now. The problem is that the current system does not protect children from getting it as drug dealers do not ask for ID, they ask for cash. Kids have reported for years on the government's own drug use studies (SAMHSA) that it is easier for them to obtain marijuana than it is to get alcohol or tobacco. Our current system requires kids to show ID to get alcohol or tobacco while marijuana is unregulated and easy to get if you have the money. I believe that this initiative will do more to keep marijuana out of the hands of children that does our current system. I support proposition 19. It’s about time and it’s the right thing to do.
BDSM Dating's picture
I have to agree that history shows us that banning substances makes them more attractive to many people who would otherwise ignore them. Although I would not go so far as to allow these drugs to be advertised, I think that there should be controlled distribution of any sort of physically habit forming, or mentally habit forming drugs. You would not want this sold at any corner store, but it could be sold at specially licensed outlets such as existing drug stores. Just think, maybe Walmart or Sears would have their revenues increase for a change. LOL

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