As of January 1, recreational marijuana is legal in California, making it the eighth state to do so including: Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state and Washington D.C. However, the University of Redlands and college campuses across the state don’t expect to make any large changes in policy.
Studies show that around 38 percent of college students are using marijuana and this number only continues to rise.
An email sent out to the entire student body by the University’s Office of Community and Well Being states:
“…Marijuana usage, possession, or distribution remains illegal under federal law and is prohibited at all University of Redlands campuses, housing, property, and any University sponsored event.”
Although marijuana is regulated in California by the state for recreational and medical use, the federal government still deems it illegal. Considering the University receives federal funding, they have to abide by the federal law in this circumstance.
“I would guesstimate around 80 percent of our campus smokes weed but it isn’t something we present to people,” shared University of Redlands senior, Abigail Hickman. “So if the policies on campus were to change I don’t think marijuana usage would get out of hand, plus hiding it only allows for more trouble to arise.”
Similar to the University, Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, still has its restrictions. Marijuana is prohibited in a public place, while driving and within 1,000 feet of any school, day care or youth center. The university’s email goes on to say that the university adheres to the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act.
According to NBC News, “Scientists are increasingly concerned about the effects of marijuana on the developing brain, which is not fully mature until about age 25. Some studies show cognitive impairments when the brain is exposed to the drug in adolescence.”
“I’m not a Republican, but I believe that all drugs should be legalized for recreation on a federal level. This would give the government opportunity to tax them the same way alcohol and tobacco is taxed, increasing revenue for the country. If someone drives while intoxicated, they get a DUI. If someone commits a crime while using, they’re arrested and charged. I think every individual should have the freedom to treat the bodies the way they want, as long as they don’t infringe on anyone else’s rights and freedoms,” said University of Redlands senior and President of College Republicans club, Sara Sparks. “I am not really affected by the change in law and I agree with the school’s position in that they receive federal funding and since it’s still illegal federally, students should not be allowed to use it. I do think Redlands should be more clear about what it means to use off-campus and come back on, because there are many students living off-campus that may be unaware of repercussions from school.”
Due to the new legalization of recreational marijuana, it is possible that more students are going to be using marijuana, if not-engaging in it for the first time. More dispensaries are opening up and it has become progressively easier to participate in the use of marijuana. Regardless, the University’s decision to prohibit it on campus is a policy that the student body will have to abide by.
“If a student is in need of it for medical reasons it should be allowed for them,’ stated University of Redlands senior, Jacqueline Archey. “I understand they have to abide by federal law but many of the residents on campus are from California; they should take that into consideration.”
The University of Redlands is not the only institution to retain the ban on marijuana following the new law. Other schools across the state are in agreement and are still abiding by the policy, which includes all UC Colleges, Universities and 114 community colleges.
Photos contributed by Redlands Bulldog photographer Olivia Kurtz.