In December, Youngstown State University’s Board of Trustees voted to keep medical marijuana off-campus in and out of dorms, which may displace students that have prescriptions for marijuana because housing them on-campus would violate the drug-free campus policies set forth by the federal government.
The question of how to handle medical marijuana, especially in public places, has been debated for decades. In recent years, states have legalized pot for medical use, but the federal government has remained reluctant to recognize marijuana as anything other than an illegal pastime.
States are now instituting the medical marijuana laws in almost every local election cycle. But a new problem has emerged that puts public institutions, such as colleges, in the dead center of the controversy.
What do public institutions that need to follow federal laws to receive funding do about medical marijuana? Specifically, are universities supposed to accommodate students who live on campus that have a prescription for medical marijuana?
Colleges and universities need to follow the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, which means students, faculty and staff are banned from possessing, distributing or using pot while on campus property or while participating in university functions.
So while Ohio recently legalized medical marijuana, Ohio universities technically did not.
Students attending YSU with a prescription for medical marijuana will be required to show proof of their condition and request removal from the housing program.
Say an out-of-state student received a scholarship to attend YSU. The scholarship allowed them to have their tuition paid for including room and board. Then, let’s say that student gets cancer. Their doctor prescribes them medical marijuana to hopefully increase their appetite while they’re going through chemo.
They bring their note saying they have cancer to the housing staff and are asked