Can you bring cannabis on college campuses?
Millions of college students are heading back to class. Coeds in states with legal cannabis may be curious about whether they can bring the plant onto campus.
For most students, the answer is no. Even medical marijuana patients are likely prohibited from possessing and consuming cannabis on school grounds.
In 1989, Congress passed the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA), which states that any college or university receiving federal funds must create school-wide policies prohibiting “the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs.”
Since cannabis is currently a Schedule I drug and is considered illegal on the federal level, the vast majority of colleges would rather play it safe and ban the plant—even if they’re located in a legal state. Otherwise, they may be putting their funding at risk.
Even with campus-wide bans, cannabis use among college students continues to climb. According to a 2020 survey, one in twelve students reported consuming cannabis daily. It may be assumed that most consumption occurs off school grounds, but that may not always be the case.
A recent study of cannabis use on college campuses in Texas found that over a quarter of students who report using the plant said they have done so on campus. The number may be surprising, given that Texas is one of the more restrictive states regarding cannabis laws. It would also lead many to assume that the numbers would be higher on campuses in legal states.
While drug convictions may no longer disqualify students from federal student aid, universities and colleges may set their own rules regarding how they approach the topic. If a school has banned cannabis on campus, students may be subject to academic probation or other disciplinary action.
If cannabis were to move to Schedule III status, colleges across the country may review their current policies on the plant. Some schools are softening their stance on cannabis possession, but at this point, there is no standardization.
However, until any reform occurs or federal marijuana legalization is enacted, students should plan to keep any extracurriculars off school grounds.