New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use on March 31 of 2021, but students at Marist College still won’t be lighting up on campus anytime soon.
Despite this fall being the first semester in New York in which adults 21 and over can legally consume cannabis, Marist’s policies banning the drug on campus have not been lifted–or changed at all.
According to the Student Code of Conduct, “students may not be in the presence of, possess, or use narcotics or other controlled substances except as expressly permitted by law.” Though marijuana is now legal at the state level, it’s still federally illegal and classified as a Schedule I substance.
“Even though we are a private institution we still receive federal funding for grants, loans, and aid so must comply with federal law. We also have to be compliant with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act,” Keli Campa, Director of Student Conduct said.
If Marist were to allow students to smoke or even possess weed on campus, the college could risk losing much-needed federal funding. The decision is ultimately up to the federal government–not college officials.
Some 420-friendly students are unhappy with the lack of progressive drug policies. “I personally don’t smoke, but if it’s legal I feel like people should have a right to,” Isabella Depaolis ‘23 said.
These regulations don’t only apply to recreational use of cannabis, but medicinal use as well. Marist students are permitted to have a medical marijuana card, although they can only consume the cannabis somewhere outside of campus grounds. Students with medical marijuana cards are also barred from possessing majuruina or drug paraphernalia anywhere on campus, including in their dorm rooms.
“I understand why they can’t do it,” said Mackenzie Curtis ‘23. “But at the end of the day marijuana is a medicinal herb and should be treated as such.”
The consequences for being caught with marijuana on campus will also remain the same for the 2021-22 school year. Disciplinary action varies from case to case when it comes to students breaking either the alcohol or drug policies outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.
“The conduct process is progressive. Typically, first time offenses have more educational components compared to those with multiple offenses. Personal usage is also treated less severely than those distributing or selling,” Campa said.
There are no specific differences in the consequences of violating the college drug policy versus the alcohol policy outlined by Student Conduct. Currently, students over 21 will not have lesser sanctions for marijuana use or possession despite being of legal age.
Even though Marijuana is legal now, Marist students shouldn’t expect any changes in college drug policies until the federal government catches up with state legalizations. Those in the possession of weed will have to remain off-campus for the foreseeable future.