Landscape views of “that bench” on LMU’s campus.
LMU students don’t have to journey far to participate in California’s recreational marijuana market. However, students should not anticipate bringing their purchases back to their dorm rooms or anywhere on campus anytime soon.
The question is, why? Even as a Jesuit institution, we have an on-campus bar for students and faculty over 21 years old. Smoking marijuana is legal in the state of California, so why isn’t it allowed on campus?
Despite California’s legalization of marijuana for adults and President Joe Biden’s recent pardon on federal marijuana possession charges, universities across the state continue to prohibit the drug. This means that students and faculty caught with marijuana on campus may get in trouble with the school, regardless of whether the marijuana is legal and accessible.
This is because any institution that receives financial aid funding or any sort of federal research — which almost every college does — must have policies that are consistent with federal drug laws, which still consider marijuana illegal.
The Director of Student Conduct and Community Responsibility, John Orozco, responded to the matter on behalf of Terri Mangione, LMU’s dean of students: “Marijuana, while legal to adults over the age of 21 in California — as well as medicinally for those over 18 — is not legal federally. The federal government, under the Controlled Substances Act, lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which has a high potential for abuse. As LMU receives federal funds in a variety of forms, including student aid, LMU is bound by federal law to prohibit marijuana.”
Junior journalism major Hampton Kohler believes that weed should be allowed on college campuses. “I understand the issue of accepting federal funding and having to abide by those rules that say weed cannot be on campus due to its illegality,” Kohler said. “But [the law] doesn’t make sense; you could smoke weed legally right off campus, but as soon as you’re on campus, it’s illegal and not allowed.”
According to the Alcohol and Drug Policies in LMU’s Community Standards, “Alcohol consumption is permitted for those of legal age in designated areas on campus (The Hannon Loft, Crimson Lion, private living units in University Housing Facilities) and at certain University sponsored and/or approved events on campus.”
So, some students can consume alcohol on campus, but not a little weed?
The reality is that marijuana is commonly used in the same way as alcohol. Some adults consume it while hanging out with friends or unwinding after a long day of work. While some people consume it for its medicinal properties, others utilize it for therapeutic purposes.
I believe that if done responsibly, this is not “bad” or “wrong,” just as going to the Loft for a drink after a long day or while hanging out with classmates is not “bad” or “wrong.” Marijuana consumption is simply a choice that some adults choose to do, and some particularly choose to do it instead of drinking — with good reason. Marijuana is less toxic, less addictive, less harmful to the body and less likely to be linked to violent or irresponsible behavior than alcohol.
“Weed is a safer drug than alcohol, and I feel it’s illegality is a product of a bygone generation,” said Kohler.
Marijuana has been found to offer some relief to symptoms of a variety of medical conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, anorexia, seizures, nausea, muscle spasms, anxiety, glaucoma and emphysema. Contrary to common beliefs, marijuana does not necessarily cause a “high” in the patients who may need it, but instead when used in certain doses, can help curb some symptoms of the conditions. There are various strains of the drug, including “Charlotte’s Web,” which is low in THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive part of marijuana.
Published: October 19, 2022
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