Legal Weed and Higher Learning

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With Illinois set to become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana on January 1st, questions surrounding the terms of use and possession of the substance are prevalent. For the most part, the bill clearly lays out guidelines for these issues in terms of private use in local municipalities. Whether someone is smoking, vaping or adding too much to homemade edibles, a local government can not prohibit you from doing these actions in the privacy of your property. However, this bill is lacking in information on how this law could impact university campuses. As of now, UIS students will want to slow their collective roll.

When reached for comment on whether  UIS would allow for future possession and use of marijuana in any form, housing director Brian Kelly stated that, as UIS receives federal funding, “it will continue to comply with federal law” which consider any and all marijuana products illegal. He continued this statement saying that UIS “does not anticipate allowing possession or use of marijuana on University property” despite the Illinois legalization law.

This clear-cut ruling still leaves another aspect of marijuana use in question. Will UIS students still be allowed to consume pot outside of the university premises? This right has been challenged by university campuses in the past. Despite its position in the legalization capital of America, Colorado University explicitly prohibits its students from consuming marijuana in any form, even if it is for medicinal purposes. As of now, this ruling has been upheld by courts which does raise some concern for off campus students. Faculty and staff members are also explicitly prohibited to use marijuana due to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. With federal law still not accepting marijuana, UIS may see an increased number of prospective policy changes to clear up these confusing elements.

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