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Marijuana possession, use prohibited on local college campuses

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Local colleges and universities say marijuana possession is still not allowed on their campuses due to federal funding requirements as well as being smoke-free or drug-free locations, regardless of weed’s now-legal status.

Issue 2, passed by Ohio voters in November, went into effect last week. The state law allows possession of a limited amount of marijuana for many Ohioans age 21 and over. But federally it remains illegal.

The day before the new adult-use law went into effect, officials at Wright State University sent out a reminder to all students and staff that stated its drug-free workplace policy has not changed.

“Because the university receives federal funding in the form of scholarships and grants, Wright State University must comply with federal laws and regulations in addition to Ohio laws,” the university-wide message stated.

The Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act disallows the use of drugs, including cannabis. If the universities that receive federal funding fail to comply with federal rules, they could become ineligible for that funding and financial aid programs for their students.

“Sanctions for students and employees who are found to be in possession of or using marijuana include suspension, dismissal and/or termination of employment,” says Miami University’s policy.

The policy notes that it doesn’t apply to certain research related to marijuana, and some accommodations are available for students who are legally authorized medical marijuana users to be released from university housing and dining obligations.

Central State University sent out a message about recreational marijuana to its students and staff, reminding them that the college is a smoke-free campus and that no laws around driving under the influence or using in the workplace have changed.

“These actions remain illegal and can lead to severe consequences,” the message stated.

The University of Dayton and Wittenberg University in Springfield, both private colleges, also follow federal law for marijuana due to the federal funding they receive.

“We recognize that societal attitudes toward marijuana are changing, and the passage of Issue 2 reflects a broader conversation about the decriminalization and regulation of cannabis,” said Karen Gerboth, the vice president of communications and marketing at Wittenberg. “We do not anticipate many changes to our current policy and will continue to prohibit the use of marijuana on our property.”

The possession, use and production of marijuana products on these colleges’ properties is considered a violation of the campuses’ policies.

Students who go against the policy can be expelled, while staff can be fired.

Wright State University freshman Braden Reynolds said he understands his university’s stance on possession and use, although he was happy to see Issue 2 pass.

“I don’t really care about it, because I don’t smoke,” he said. “But when I saw that (Issue 2) passed, I thought, ‘That’s pretty sick!’ It’ll be easier and safer for my friends that use.”

Sinclair Community College is also a smoke-free and drug-free campus.

Dot Buerger, 18, is studying at Sinclair. She said she sees signs in campus buildings frequently reminding students not to light up on campus.

“It makes sense that marijuana smoking would also not be allowed,” she said.


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