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Arizona's bill banning marijuana in schools needed for funding

Students with a medical marijuana card shouldn’t bring their supply to campus. Marijuana is an illegal drug according to the federal government and therefore it can’t, and shouldn’t, be on campus.

Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, made it legal for people, in Arizona, with a doctor’s permission, to possess and smoke marijuana. However, the federal government can withhold funding if a school allows it.

Rep. Amanda Reeve, R-Phoenix, to cover the state’s bases, sponsored House Bill 2349, which bans the possession and usage of medical marijuana at any educational institution.

The House Education Committee passed the bill last week.

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“Educational institution means any public or private university, college, community college, postsecondary educational institution, high school, junior high school, middle school, common school or preschool in this state,” according to the bill. In other words, the bill will cover all schools that receive federal aid, contracts, grants or loans through the Drug-Free Workplace and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities acts.

Reeve said she wants to clarify what Prop. 203 calls “public places,” ­— which unintentionally includes schools — so the state won’t lose any federal funding.

One of the acts specifically mandates that, “Students in general and recipients of Pell Grant are required to comply.” And who gets Pell Grants? Why, college students, of course.

After marijuana was legalized for medical use the Arizona Board of Regents restated its drug ban because the regents knew schools must comply with the drug-free acts.

Arizona is not the first state to have conflicting marijuana laws.

University of Colorado at Boulder requires all its first-year freshmen to live on campus. But, according to the Denver Post, after a potential lawsuit, university officials allowed a student to live off campus because she had a medical marijuana card.

No college is willing to risk losing federal funding, and as long as Arizona’s regents continue to comply with drug policies, the UA can keep its funding. Reeve is merely offering further protection to schools by making the regents’ decision a statewide law.

As it’s written, Proposition 203 is specific when it comes to hospitals, hospices, and any healthcare institution, but the proposition is too vague when it comes to schools. The state needs to have a uniform set of laws and regulations to ensure that colleges and universities comply with federal mandates.

— Cheryl Gamachi is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (5/7)
271 1 0.4%
Total (8/4)
266,976 4,348 1.6%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated May 7, 2021