How Medical Marijuana Will Impact Indiana Colleges

A bottle of medical marijuana

It seems like a lifetime ago that marijuana was considered a dangerous and illegal drug. Advocates of legalizing marijuana had been fighting tooth and nail with conservatives. Currently there are 23 states that have legalized marijuana and in the not too distant future the entire country will have legalized medical marijuana. There are several states that have approved the recreational use of marijuana as well. Medical marijuana will impact Indiana colleges, but to what extent is unknown. The only thing policy makers can do is play the game of ‘what if’s’ or ‘it could do this or that’. The effects of medical marijuana can only be speculated, but the only thing professionals can do is transfer other states situations into Indiana society.

Legal Marijuana Affects

Colorado Washington, Alaska, and Oregon have already chosen to legalize marijuana and there are several other groups in various states that are currently working towards the same goal. These states have seen an upwards of $37 million dollars in tax revenue. Most of the individuals in this new and thriving business are responsible business owners. Unfortunately, the black market for marijuana is still alive. There are outlier instances of individuals injuring themselves while high on marijuana, but the local governments are working at lightning speed to counter these dangers. One of the major issues for the marijuana industry is that it is still federally illegal; therefore profits are seen as drug money and cannot be placed in a bank. These multimillion dollar businesses are currently running a cash business, which makes the possibility for danger, corruption, and crime even higher.

How Are Other Colleges Dealing with Legal Marijuana

When it comes down to the law and fact marijuana is illegal federally. Colleges and Universities rely on federal funding and therefore are subject to federal law. College students must be aware that while marijuana may be legal in that state, they are subject to the same federal laws of the University. In this language, college students receiving federal aid for school must comply with the federal law. Anyone housed in college or university housing is also subject to these federal regulations regarding marijuana. Most administrators have stated that they have yet to have a problem with legal marijuana because most of the students in on-campus housing are under the age of 21. Campus police cannot give citations for marijuana possession of less than an ounce on campus. Colleges have also had to give students using medical marijuana exemptions for living on campus for their freshmen year. The biggest obstacle is receiving federal funding for financial aid and allowing students to use medical marijuana. If you possess a medical marijuana card you forfeit financial aid, as a result of federal law. Ultimately schools are in a bind between state and federal law.

Medical Marijuana in Indiana Colleges

Following the example of other states and their colleges it would seem that Indiana colleges at the institution level will not be affected by medical marijuana. The school might have to give an exemption for freshmen who use medical marijuana to live off campus. The campus police will not be able to write citations for legal possession of medical marijuana. Students will have to navigate the cloudy waters of medical marijuana and financial aid. On a social and functional level, it would seem that medical marijuana has not had an effect on other universities or colleges. Since this is a new arena of life, school, and law the results are still unknown. Careful consideration and analysis must be recorded and compared as the time moves on.

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