In this past year, Colorado passed voter led legislation forthe legalization of marijuana for recreational use. While thislegislation may have made this legal in the sate ofColorado, it is still regarded as illegal by the federalgovernment. It is important for institutions of highereducation to be aware of the implications of this law and itseffect on state policy.
During the November elections, Colorado Amendment64, a voter led initiative, legalized the following: The purchase of one ounce of marijuana for personalusage The growth of up to six marijuana plants for personalusage Commercial sale of marijuana (pending state regulationsin 2014) Any county in the state of Colorado is allowed to passordinances to continue the ban of marijuana in theirtown. While the state of Colorado may have passed legislationallowing the sale and recreational use of small amounts
All Colorado institutions of higher education receive someform of support from the federal government. If any Collegeor University receives support from the federalgovernment, they have to abide by their regulations. Allinstitutions of higher education in Colorado need to makesure their policies are reflecting federal regulations to avoidsanctions.
Higher Education Act: Title I, SEC. 120.20 U.S.C. 1011i states that allinstitutions that wish to receive federal funding mustnotify students and staff about state and federallegislation regarding drug possession and usage.
Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Chapter II, Part 1308.11, section d states thatmarijuana is a hallucinogenic substance. The DrugEnforcement Administration (DEA) has identifiedmarihuana as a controlled substance. The Drug FreeWorkplace Act of 1988 requires that all employees beinformed of which controlled substances are federallyillegal and not allowed to be at the work place
Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of1989 States that institutions of higher education cannotreceive federal funding unless they demonstrate to thesecretary that they have preventative measures againstdrug usage. This includes, but is not limited to, sanctionsin a conduct and policy, dissemination of informationabout illegal drug usage, counseling services, and healthrisks, among others
Higher Education Opportunity Act An individual who has been charged with possession willface one year of ineligibility for federal funding. A secondpossession charge incurs a two year ineligibilitystatus, and a third possession will incur an indefiniteineligibility for federal funding. For the sale of acontrolled substance, at the first offense, the student willincur an ineligibility status of two years, for the secondoffense, the student will be indefinitely ineligible for aid.
Because the legalization of marijuana was passed by apublic vote and was not state legislation, institutions ofhigher education are not having to adjust as much as theywould have to were it state legislation. However this doesnot mean institutions of higher education should not bepreparing to respond to the new laws.
Develop a state commission on the management andregulation of marijuana for institutions of highereducation.o No University or College in the state of Colorado is outside of thepurview of the regulations of the HEOA. Bringing leaders from allcampuses together will help in creating a unified front on thestates stance about marijuana usage on campus.o This commission can also be used to share best practices forhow to create educational/awareness programs on campus toclarify the policy on marijuana usage. The information needs tobe disseminated to faculty and staff as well as students.
o The use of marijuana has potential implications for a student’sfinancial aid eligibility. Special attention must be given tofinancial aid offices to make sure that the information aboutpossession and sale of illicit drugs can render a student ineligiblefor financial aid for a minimum of one year.o This commission should also begin developing a plan for thepotential legalization of marijuana at a federal level. As theconversation on the use of marijuana for recreational purposeshas moved forward, there is potential that we may see a culturalshift leading to the full legalization of marijuana. If this is thecase, we should have a contingency plan developed for policychanges and regulations.
We must recognize that students may not understand howand why the federal policy still overrules state policy. Wemust make an effort to clarify all the intricacies of the policyso they understand what is legal and what is illegal. This isespecially important because of the potential for student’sfinancial aid to be revoked, or the chance that they may beineligible to receive further funding.
1998 amendments to the higher education act of 1965, Section 483(1998). Cornell University Law School. (2013). 21 CFR 1308.11 - scheduleI.. Retrieved 4/06, 2013, fromhttp://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/21/1308.11 Drug-free schools and communities act amendments of 1989, 101-226, 101Cong. (1989). Peterson, E. (2013). Marijuana legalization: Colorado andwashington state grapple with implementing new laws. Retrieved4/6, 2013, from http://www.policymic.com/articles/22459/marijuana-legalization-colorado-and-washington-state-grapple-with-implementing-new-laws U.S. Department of Labor.Drug-free workplace act of1988Requirements. Retrieved 4/06, 2013, fromhttp://www.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/screenr.htm
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