College students smoking weed on campus is not a new phenomenon. What has changed is that weed has taken up a big spotlight, especially in states that have legalized. Whether the students know it or not, colleges and universities actually allowing the smoking of pot on campus could mean the loss of millions of dollars of federal funding for the institutions in question.
According to the 1989 Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, if federal drug laws are broken, schools could lose their funding.
Sure, it’s more than natural to cozy up in a circle of your best buds and, if you’re all 21 and live in a legal state, it would seem even more natural to spark up a jay or pass a vape pen or two around. But the millions of dollars at risk are what pays for student funding, among other things.
Vaughan Rees, the director of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at Harvard, told the Boston Globe, “Obviously, there’s inconsistency between states and federal laws in the states where marijuana is being both decriminalized and legalized.”
“This is why federal policies in particular about drug legalization are a bad idea, because then you’re led into these conflicts between state and federal policies that are just not resolvable,” said Jeffrey A. Miron, a Harvard economist who studies drug legalization. He told the Boston Globe that, obviously, the expulsion of a large amount of the student body is not the answer.
In the words of Lester Grinspoon, marijuana pioneer and emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “We’ve been steeped in the alcohol model for so long, that if you’re an American, you drink. If they were going to use something, it should be cannabis, not alcohol. It’s safer, but it’s also a much more interesting high.”
There’s a lot of truth in the above statement, and though just as puffing on campus isn’t likely to slow down, keggers and drinking aren’t going anywhere fast either. Even though it’s found that in states that legalize marijuana have a dip in alcohol sales, college is a rite of passage involving many substances for many.
Tynan Jackson, a Harvard junior who doesn’t smoke because of asthma, said that cannabis use was prevalent at Harvard and that, “They receive federal funding so they have to institute this law, but how well they enforce it is really up to them. But they’re not going to put you in handcuffs if you have a blunt in your hand.”