Oklahoma may have legalized medical marijuana this summer, but that doesn’t mean major Oklahoma universities will allow it on campus. In a joint statement, Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State University prohibited students and faculty from growing, processing, or smoking cannabis on its properties.
The universities say that because they receive federal funding, they must comply with the Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (DFSCA), which bans the usage of federally illegal drugs on campus or school-sponsored events. OSU and OU are also bound by the Federal Controlled Substances Act (FCSA), which “criminalizes the growth and use of marijuana.”
“Despite the recent passage of State Question 788, the DFSCA requires OSU and OU to adopt and adhere to policies prohibiting the unlawful use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs, including marijuana,” the universities announced in a joint statement. “Moving forward, OU and OSU will adhere to federal law prohibiting the use, possession, distribution or cultivation of marijuana for any reason at their campuses across the state.”
Last month, Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana through a ballot measure (SQ 788). The measure was notable because it created one of the most liberal medical marijuana programs in the country, as patients didn’t have to qualify for a set of conditions approved by the state. Instead Oklahoma’s program allows medical marijuana to be prescribed based on the recommendation of individual physicians.
It’s worth noting that SQ 788 does not ban the usage of medical marijuana on college campuses. Students caught with cannabis will not be punished by state laws. Instead they’re likely to receive “disciplinary or administrative sanctions from OSU or OU, not criminal charges,” according to Tulsa World.
The issue regarding college campuses and medical marijuana usage doesn’t only exist in Oklahoma. Lawmakers in Arizona tried to create an amendment where it would become illegal to be in possession of cannabis in certain spaces, including college campuses. After an Arizona State University student sued, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the amendment unconstitutional, making it illegal in the state to arrest medical marijuana patients who were on campus and in possession of the drug.