Virginia Tech among universities that will uphold marijuana prohibition until federal law is changed
With marijuana restrictions easing across the United States, perhaps now would be a good time to consider how the state’s laws impact different sectors of society. Our first stop on the tour will be Virginia Tech University, located in Blacksburg, Virginia. While marijuana will be legalized for recreational use in the state of Virginia, Virginia Tech’s updated drug and alcohol policy continues to prohibit the use and possession of cannabis such as all marijuana strains.
At first sight, this looks and sounds absolutely absurd. Why legalize the recreational use of marijuana if adult-aged college students are prohibited from indulging? The rationale makes much more sense after a second look. Virginia Tech is a public university, which means they receive funding from the federal government. Marijuana is currently classified as a schedule I substance at the federal level. Because our governing system is designed for federal law to trump state law, universities are playing it on the safe side.
The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act is the federal law that bans illegal drugs on college campuses and public schools. Students at Virginia Tech will not be allowed to smoke or ingest edibles for either recreational or medical reasons. Students are also not permitted to be under the influence of marijuana while on campus or at any university-sponsored events.
Off-campus marijuana use, however, must be within guidance of current state law. Students aged 21 or older will not be disciplined on campus for smoking a joint at an off-campus party starting July 1, for example, because recreational use will be legalized in Virginia.
While Virginia Tech is currently the only university to update their student conduct policy regarding marijuana, other colleges and universities in the state claim that their current policies are already in compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. Current university policies already prohibit the use and possession of marijuana on campus. An update is unnecessary unless they’re removing the prohibition entirely from their student policies.